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Confirmed: The identity of Japanese club Faf de Klerk is joining

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

World Cup winner Faf de Klerk is heading back to the city that played host to South Africa’s 2019 final win as the Yokohama Canon Eagles have confirmed on social media that they are the club the scrum-half is moving to from Sale.


The 30-year-old half-back is set to play his final match this Saturday with the Sharks in Manchester before linking up with the Springboks for their international season, and he will then head to Japan, a country he claims he always wanted to play in again.   

“I’m very excited and grateful for the opportunity to be part of a great team like Yokohama Canon Eagles,” said de Klerk on his new club’s website on Wednesday. “Since the Rugby World Cup in 2019, I knew I wanted to play in Japan at some stage in my career. 

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Josh Strauss talks about the early years and why he almost quit the game at age 21
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Josh Strauss talks about the early years and why he almost quit the game at age 21

“Now it is a reality and I can’t wait to get stuck in with my teammates and coaches and hopefully make a big impact. The Japanese culture is amazing and I look forward to enjoying every moment with my partner, teammates and all the rugby fans of Japan.”

His new club tweeted: “New Member. We would like to announce a new player who will be joining the Yokohama Canon Eagles! 🔥 👤Francois de Klerk • Date of Birth: 19/10/1991; Position: SH; Height/Weight: 170cm/88kg.”

The Sale exit of de Klerk, along with fellow Springboks title winner Lood de Jager, was farewelled on Tuesday by Sharks boss Alex Sanderson. “The energy, the hair, the unpredictability. It is all there on display but that is not all of Faf de Klerk,” he said to RugbyPass. There is a hidden depth to Faf which you see through this competitiveness, through his physicality and that flamboyance that you see never transfers into arrogance or complacency. 


“He is a very humble person who I have got a lot of time for. He is not all fluff, there is a good bit of ferocity about him which I respect and admire.”

“These are the two people I get on with very well. You’d think two people are leaving the club within their original contractual times that they said they would commit to, they could be leaving on bad terms but because of the people they are, they are actually leaving with our blessing. 

“I know why they are leaving and I can’t disagree with their motives for doing so… they were two of our talismans over the course of the season (and a half) without which we wouldn’t have got to two quarter-finals and a semi-final without a shadow of a doubt, wouldn’t have got there. They are sadly leaving but they will leave with all our best wishes.”




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RUGBYPASS+ Rhys Carre: 'I've stopped trying to be someone I'm not' Rhys Carre: 'I've stopped trying to be someone I'm not'