Faf opens up on battle with COVID-19
SPOTLIGHT: World Cup winner Faf de Klerk has revealed for the first time how badly he was struck down by COVID-19 in October as one of numerous Sale Sharks players who tested positive for the virus. Chris Jones reports.
The major outbreak, which ultimately affected 27 players and staff, saw Sale unable to finish out their Premiership campaign, which looked certain to earn them a play-off place.
Their final game with Worcester could not be played and instead of battling for the title, livewire scrumhalf de Klerk found himself in isolation and fighting the virus.
De Klerk told RugbyPass: “I had very severe body pains and fever for about three to four days and once that broke I felt okay. I didn’t have any loss of taste or smell but then after that trying to get into training, the body didn’t react well for the first few weeks.
“But the second day of pre-season training at Sale, the body felt great with so much more energy and I realised that it had taken me a while to get over it and regain that energy. It took a few weeks to get it completely out of the system and I’m now firing.
“It has been tough, especially when I had the virus and was completely isolated for two weeks. The first week I was pretty poorly and then it became frustrating not being able to do anything in the second. Luckily we are now back training. That does make it easier and when you get home you just want to relax. There are people in a much worse position than I am and I always think about that and I try and see the positives.”
De Klerk believes the fact so many other teammates at Sale had also tested positive helped in terms of sharing experiences and keeping each other motivated during a situation that Steve Diamond revealed on Tuesday his players were cleared of blame for by the RFU.
“With everybody going through that you could ask around and get a sense of how they are doing.
“It does help because you don’t feel like you are on your own struggling. The boys who didn’t contract it were asking if they could help out delivering stuff to us. That was really good to see the group standing up for each other. It’s a bit of blessing going forward that most of the group has had it and, hopefully, that is a good sign that we may not get it again.”
By Chris Jones, @RugbyPass