Rugby 24.8.2018 02:12 pm

Springboks ‘win’ a club-v-country battle with Faf

Faf de Klerk. Photo: Gallo Images.

Faf de Klerk. Photo: Gallo Images.

That said, this ‘war’ seemed to be a pretty friendly one…

In a major coup for the Springboks, Faf de Klerk will be available for the whole duration of the Rugby Championship.

There had been doubts initially, specifically because such an arrangement would mean that the 26-year-old misses the first six matches of his English club Sale’s new domestic campaign.

ALSO READ: Springboks don’t want to be ‘selfish’ with overseas-based stars

It was thought that Sale and the Boks would seek a compromise as the club, after all, pays his salary.

However, Sale’s director of rugby, Steve Diamond, confirmed to Rugby Pass that they wouldn’t stand in the way of De Klerk’s national duty.

“When Faf came to us he was in the Test wilderness and that is no longer the case and I am happy to cope with him having to play for South Africa,” he told the website.

“It is a loss to us because he is a fantastic player and 12 months ago not many people in the UK had heard of Faf de Klerk and now he is helping to put South Africa on the map.”

The Springboks do actually have World Rugby regulations on their side, with Regulation 9 granting them the right to insist on a player being released for national duty in a designated international window.

Bok coach Rassie Erasmus though said such an arrangement would be “selfish”.

Nonetheless, Sale seem to be very accommodating.

“If we miss him for four to six games then so be it. We will get him back in October and off we go. I am happy for Faf to stay for the Rugby Championship and if Rassie decides to try other scrum halves then we will get him back and that would be a bonus,” said Diamond.

“I knew having watched him play and then meet him, that Faf would set the Premiership on fire with his play and we played better than we had for three or four years with him in the team.”

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