Faf de Klerk's take on Tate McDermott
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: There will be loads of exciting on-field battles when Springboks and the Wallabies go head to head on Sunday.
However, the one that certainly carries some intrigue is the face-off at scrumhalf.
It will be the Springboks’ Faf de Klerk versus the Wallabies’ Tate McDermott
The World Cup winner return’s from injury for the Rugby Championship clash on the Gold Coast. He is one of 13 changes to the Springboks matchday squad that will face the Wallabies on Sunday.
The Boks head into this match after two consecutive wins over Argentina.
The Wallabies, in contrast, have lost their last three Tests, all in a similar fashion to a rampant New Zealand.
However, while pundits may tip the Boks as favourites, De Klerk says it would be remiss to underestimate the Wallabies despite coming off a disappointing run of results against All Blacks.
“We are under no illusions about what a great team the Wallabies are,” said De Klerk, who will earn his 33rd Test cap in the encounter.
“Having watched their games and how close they have come to winning some of them, I think if a few things had gone their way and a few passes stuck there could have been different results.”
De Klerk added: “From my personal experience of playing in Australia, it is incredibly tough and it’s always a massive physical challenge. Adding to that, the way they play these days where they almost try to run you off your feet is going to test us defensively, so it will be a tough game.
“They are a bunch of proud guys from a proud country, so I think they’ll come out with everything they have.
“We know we are going to get the best out of them, and we know that if we don’t bring our best, we’ll probably get a hiding in this game.
“We’ve spoken about it a lot this week, and the guys are ready for what lies ahead. We know it won’t be easy.”
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De Klerk noted the Wallabies’ expansive approach, which seems sure to continue now that Quade Cooper has been recalled at No.10 to partner young Queensland Reds scrumhalf McDermott.
A brilliant running No.9, McDermott has flourished after winning a starting role ahead of Nic White and in De Klerk’s eyes holds the key to the Wallabies’ offence.
“McDermott is a great exciting young player, really threatening around the rucks,” he said.
“He’s a good player to watch and that’s the sort of the No.9 Australia wants now – one that’s really threatening.
“And with Nic White backing him up, creates massive challenges.”
With De Klerk back in action after recovering from the leg injury that sidelined him since the second Test against the British & Irish Lions, the nuggety scrumhalf was delighted to receive the opportunity to contribute on the field once again and said there were a few key areas he would target going into the match.
“What I’d like to bring to the field is the game management side of things, so deciding when to have a go and when to take them on in the air, as well as when to speed up the game, so that is the control I need to bring,” said De Klerk.
“I also want to bring my basics such as feeding [the ball] and passing, giving the team great front-foot ball, and ensuring that we go forward, and if I can score a try, that’s always nice.”