Faf helping to lure SA players to Sale
Sale Sharks Director of Rugby Steve Diamond speaks to Chris Jones about the Premiership clubs bold plan to openly target South African player.
And they are using the Springbok scrumhalf, Francois de Klerk, as an ‘advisor’.
De Klerk, who was nominated as a World Rugby Player of the Year and is one of the leading scrumhalves in the Premiership according to the RPI, is to sign a contract extension at Sale to head off interest from rival English clubs.
The new De Klerk contract is part of Sale’s bid to attract top Springbok talent to the AJ Bell Stadium – with Robert and Jean-Luc du Preez being offered long-term deals.
Diamond revealed to RugbyPass he is targeting a current Springbok hooker, prop and lock to join the club after next year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan.
That puts hooker Malcolm Marx, props Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe and lock/flank Pieter-Steph Du Toit on the Sale radar.
Diamond believes the success scrumhalf de Klerk has enjoyed, since moving to Sale in 2017, will act as a major attraction to other Springbok stars – as it proves playing in England can boost your Test chances rather than harm them.
De Klerk was in the Test wilderness when he arrived at Sale, but the appointment of Rassie Erasmus as coach and the 27-year-old’s brilliant form saw him burst back onto the international scene as one of South Africa’s outstanding players in 2018.
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Diamond is using De Klerk’s inside knowledge to identify the players he believes can make the squad serious contenders for honours and avoid the kind of yo-yoing they are currently enduring in the ultra-competitive Premiership which sees them head into next weekend’s game with Bristol in 11th place.
Diamond told RugyPass: “Faf’s looking to extend for three or four years and so is Jono Ross.
“There is no chance of Faf going anywhere else and my message to other clubs is simple “ go and find your own players!”
The du Preez brothers are doing well having joined us and we will be looking to extend their stay.
“Our recruitment drive is in South Africa at the moment with some of Faf’s mates.
“We are in intense talks with a prop, hooker and lock to come after the World Cup.
“They are all current South Africa internationals and we are in a good place.”
Currie Cup winner Robert du Preez is currently on a three-month loan from the Sharks as cover for the injured AJ MacGinty and bother Jean-Luc joined on a similar deal to provide extra back row options while Tom Curry was out with an ankle injury. Curry is now back in action but Diamond wants to keep Du Preez’s ball carrying ability.
Diamond is to study the ruling of the European rugby disciplinary hearing following four-week ban handed to lock Andrei Ostrikov after he was sent off against Bordeaux for leading with the elbow describing the judgement as “ridiculous” and the club could appeal against the ban.
Prop Tom Bristow was send off for Sale in the return game with Bordeaux which they lost 14-17 at the weekend.
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