Learn everything you need to know about Springboks hero Faf de Klerk right here on Rugby365
Faf de Klerk, the blonde-haired wonderboy of SA Rugby, was born in Nelspruit and attended Laerskool Bergland, where the foundation for his rugby was laid. Even at a young age his persistence and fearlessness impressed his coaches as he excelled in the scrumhalf position.
Later, at Hoërskool Waterkloof in Pretoria, his love for rugby grew as he started developing his trademark tenacious demeanour, while occasionally switching between scrumhalf and flyhalf.
The time Faf de Klerk spent at number 10 at school gave him the confidence to kick, a strong skill he often uses on the field to control the game.
De Klerk’s junior career kicked off at the Blue Bulls in 2009 and he spent two years within the system before moving to the Golden Lions. Faf de Klerk spent a solitary season in Johannesburg before the lure of first-team rugby took the tenacious player home to Nelspruit in 2012 where he joined the Pumas.
After impressing for the Pumas at various levels, he was loaned to the Golden Lions where he made his Super Rugby debut in 2014. The move to Johannesburg became permanent and after three years, De Klerk made 68 appearances and scored 72 points.
With impressive performances for the Lions, coupled with the retirement of Fourie Du Preez and the appointment of new Springbok coach Alastair Coetzee, Faf de Klerk finally got handed a Springbok cap. Unfortunately, a solitary victory over Ireland was the only highlight in a tumultuous year for South Africa, as they lost eight matches in total.
With his international status unclear and domestic teams financially strapped, De Klerk headed to the UK to play for the Sale Sharks, thus becoming unavailable for Springbok selection for a couple of years.
Even abroad, he has been regarded as one of the best scrumhalves in the world, winning Sales’ 2017/2018 Player of the Year and nominated for England Premiership’s Player of the Season. And with seismic changes thousands of miles away in his homeland, Faf de Klerk would make a heroic return in the Springbok jersey.
De Klerk has described his move to Sale as a “blessing in disguise” in an effort to retain the Bok jersey.
A fairytale story of South Africa becoming World Cup winners in Japan in 2019 followed, in which Faf de Klerk turned up with brilliant performances.
Three years after South African rugby hit its lowest point, De Klerk helped take the Springboks to the top of the world.