Johannesburg – Springbok scrumhalf Faf de Klerk is expecting
a lot of attention from the England forwards when he faces them in this weekend’s
first test in Johannesburg, but says he is ready for what they will bring.
De Klerk is expected to be in the starting line-up announced
by Rassie Erasmus on Thursday and after a successful season in England where he
was named as one of the Premiership players of the season, he knows that his
game will be scrutinised, according to supersport.com website.
And he expects there to be a massive target on this back for
“I think they definitely will (target me). Any England side
in the Premiership, they always put pressure on the rucks, they always try and
put pressure on the guys going up for the ball in the kicking game and they
definitely try and put pressure on the nines,” De Klerk said.
“I don’t think it is because of me, but if another nine will
play it will be the same thing. If you can stop the ball there, create slow
ball or create a slow pass off the nine with pressure, then their linespeed is
going to kill you.
“I think we will need to get our rucking structures in
place, make sure we are strong there and then a key facet will be for us to get
quick ball to counter their linespeed.
“On attack they have great ball-carriers and they know what
they are doing. They are so dialled in on how they want to play and what they
want to do.
“That is our challenge, to beat them in that, to make sure
we are better prepared than them, even though they have been together for six
nations and longer. I think we have a bit more, how can I say it, threatening
players in our team, so I think if we can be patient and stick to our
structures, we could get some linebreaks on them.”
De klerk believes that while he is a senior cog in a young
team this weekend, he doesn’t see himself as a senior player. And while the
combination between him and Handre Pollard is fairly young, he knows he will
have to play to keep his place in the side.
“We’ve been training together now for just over a week and
luckily I’ve played with most of the players I’ve trained with. Coming into the
squad and seeing some of the exciting players we have.
“I think our wings are Nkosi and Aphiwe and they can score a
try from anywhere and they are so quick. So I don’t think we are senior players
at all. If Papier comes up and trains better than me and has a good game on the
weekend he is going to start ahead of me.
“I think that is the culture we are trying to get to, no
seniority but in that you need to earn your right to earn the jersey. You need
to perform on the weekend and that is probably the biggest thing.
“Combos, whoever I play with and if I get the chance to play
with someone, we are all well prepared and we still have this week to iron out
the seams. By the weekend we will probably be ready.”
The team to face England will be named on Thursday.