De Klerk keen to resume rivalry with Smith

───   MORGAN PIEK 08:23 Thu, 04 Aug 2022

De Klerk keen to resume rivalry with Smith | News Article
Faf de Klerk - Getty

The Springbok scrumhalf, Faf de Klerk, looks forward to resuming his rivalry with Aaron Smith on Saturday when they face the All Blacks in Nelspruit in the Rugby Championship.

De Klerk was named in the Springboks' starting line-up for the 102nd Test between the two nations on what is the ground where his career started.

The former Pumas halfback was dropped to the bench for the previous Test against Wales in Cape Town.

De Klerk says he always relishes the opportunity to play against one of the best halfbacks in world rugby.

“We've become friends off the field, but once we're on the field, it's back to business,” he said.

“He's one of their key players with over 100 Tests which makes him unbelievably successful.

“There's a lot to learn from him – it's always good to learn from one of the best players in the world.

“South Africa had noted how Ireland overcame the All Blacks in their July series, but they had their way of containing them.

“The important thing is that we need to man up physically against them, and I don't think we have guys who'll shy away from the physicality.

“We'll work on it with our own plans, and we're not going to try to do something that's not in our embedded DNA.”

Saturday’s eagerly anticipated Test at the Mbombela Stadium gets underway at 17:05.

Springboks - 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Trevor Nyakane.

Replacements - 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Salmaan Moerat, 20 Franco Mostert, 21 Kwagga Smith, 22 Jaden Hendrikse, 23 Willie le Roux.

All Blacks – TBA

Morgan Piek/OFM Sport

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