'We will never go into a Test not being ready'
SPOTLIGHT: Springbok Scrumhalf Faf de Klerk says the Springboks will never be unprepared for a Test match.
Instead of signalling the start of a memorable period of playing success, the world champions have not played since November 2 last year thanks to the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
De Klerk, who will be taking on Northampton in the opening Premiership match of the 2020/21 season on Friday, was supposed to be part of a large Sale contingent helping the Springboks compete in the Rugby Championship in Australia.
However, the world champions withdrew due to a lack of preparation time and they could go into the three-Test series with the British and Irish Lions next July very short of match practice.
Is De Klerk concerned about the lack of Test match activity?
“We are all very keen to get back with the Springboks and see if we can continue at that level,” said the scrumhalf in an interview with RugbyPass. “It is strange and who would have thought we would not have played again by now.
“We are talking a lot with the coaches and conditioners and it makes you feel part of things and gives you the confidence to keep working hard. I’m sure they will figure some things out [before the Lions] and they are doing all the preparation work.
“We won’t go into the Lions series unprepared. We will never go into a Test not being ready to win that game and I’m very confident in the management and they will make sure we will be prepared properly.
Meanwhile, a major COVID-19 outbreak, which ultimately affected 27 players and staff including De Klerk, saw Sale unable to finish out their 2019/2020 Premiership campaign, which looked certain to earn them a play-off place.
“Not being able to finish the Premiership season with Sale was frustrating and disappointing,” De Klerk added.
“We really wanted to get into the play-offs and then anything can happen. It will linger with us for a bit but now the challenge is to be better than we were last season because there were some slip-ups.
“If we play the way we can, we can beat any side in the Premiership.”
Source: Chris Jones, @RugbyPass