Du Preez to do the 'Faf'
EURO SPOTLIGHT: Robert du Preez is hoping to follow Francois de Klerk’s lead and revive his own international career in Europe.
The livewire scrumhalf, De Klerk, was one of the key players when South Africa lifted the World Cup by defeating England in the Final in Japan a fortnight ago.
De Klerk and his now-famous South African flag budgie smugglers are on their way back to Sale Sharks after the Springboks trophy tour of their country.
The No.9 has become a rugby icon in South Africa, having forced his way back into the Springboks side after enduring a Test exile before his form with Sale and a review of regulations governing overseas-based players led to Rassie Erasmus recalling him.
Erasmus has embraced the idea of Springbok players taking up contracts outside South Africa and with another World Cup winner Lodewyk de Jager soon to join De Klerk at Sale- when he has recovered from his shoulder operation – there will be plenty of attention on the Premiership outfit where all three du Preez brothers are now based.
That focus could help catapult du Robert du Preez, whose only cap to date came against Wales in 2018, and his twin brothers Dan and Jean-Luc, also capped by South Africa, back into the selection mix.
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Du Preez will make his Champions Cup debut for Sale when the travel to Glasgow Warriors on Saturday and it is this kind of quality match that will provide all three brothers with a high profile stage.
He said: “Rassie has made it clear that he will pick players on form and players like Cheslin Kolbe, who wasn’t previously in the mix, had an outstanding couple of seasons with Toulouse and was one of best players for the Boks.
“I can’t speak for my brothers but if it turns out we play good enough rugby to get back into the Bok mix then that would be amazing. I haven’t ruled any of that out, but first I have to do my best here at Sale. If it goes well then hopefully other things will happen.
“It will be great to have Faf back. He brings real energy and will be arriving with a very nice Speedo tan! It will be exciting to have all the guys back, including Tom Curry and Mark Wilson and then Lood when his shoulder has recovered. Faf loves the club and the culture and he will come back with some real confidence from the Boks.”
Du Preez made a positive impact during his three-month short-term deal with Sale last season and admitted a dip in form when he returned to the Durban-based Sharks led to plenty of discussion among local fans about his place in the team which, at the time, was coached by his father, also Rob.
Coaches having their own sons under their command is not unusual. You had Andy and Owen Farrell at one stage with Saracens, as well as Dai and Thomas Young currently at Wasps, but the Sharks squad took this to another level with all three du Preez boys coached by father Rob.
He left the head coach role in July and all three sons signed deals committing their immediate playing future to Sale. Both Jean-Luc and Daniel had originally signed short-term loan contracts for part of the 2019/20 Premiership but joined Rob full-time in deciding to stay in England
One player who unfortunately will not be able to help the Sale cause for six months is Josh Beaumont. Injured in last Friday’s win over Wasps, he has since undergone knee surgery.
By Chris Jones, RugbyPass