EXCLUSIVE: Sale reveal agreement with Springboks over use of Faf de Klerk
De Klerk has made a remarkable return to South African colours, helping the Springboks beat England 2-1 in their June series and started the Rugby Championship campaign scoring a try in the 34-21 win over Argentina in Durban last Saturday. While Wasps, as RugbyPass exclusively revealed, have an agreement with Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus for the return of their mercurial full back Willie Le Roux after three Championship matches, Diamond is happy to leave his live-wire No9 on test duty. The Springboks Championship campaign ends on October 6 against the All Blacks.
Diamond said: “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. 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.
“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.
“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. I take credit with the coaching team for deciding that was the sort of player we needed in England and there is only Danny Care and Ben Youngs who have that ability. They are game changers.”
Diamond has also seen the impact USA Eagles No10 AJ McGinty has been able to have on the Sale team since coming back from injury to form a potent half-back combination with de Klerk. “ AJ plays for a Tier Two nation but is a Tier One outside half,” added Diamond. “We are delighted to have AJ on a long-term deal as well as the likes of Jono Ross, Rohan Janse van Rensburg and Josh Strauss and all of those South Africans are good lads.
“Things went on during the game with Castres which we don’t accept on the pitch. As a result of the game we have seven players unfit to train with various injuries including broken ribs and concussions and it was brutal violence against Sale. There were three red cards and five things that went missed that would be red in the Premiership if they had been seen.
“They are a top side in France and we went there a week before the season starts and collected some serious injuries. While you have to take the rough with the smooth, the officials post-game haven’t looked with the scrutiny needed. What can we do about it? Not go there again!”
Ashton has since been hit with a hefty ban by the RFU over his tip tackle on Rory Kockott.
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