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Faf de Klerk's new club is being widely reported

By Ian Cameron
(Photo by Patrick Hamilton/AFP via Getty Images)

There was little surprise when it was revealed this week that Faf de Klerk was set to leave Sale Sharks after five seasons at the club.

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With Gallagher Premiership sides losing one of two marquee player exemptions while simultaneously trying to get in under a lower salary cap threshold, Sale simply couldn’t hang on to both De Klerk and his Springbok teammate Lood de Jager.

While Japan was always the likely destination for the in-demand nine, which club he ultimately ended up in was where the rub was.

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Originally earmarked for the NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes in Osaka, it is now being reported that he will instead sign for Canon Eagles. The reason being that the Hurricanes are set to be reverted to amateur status as a result of the current re-structuring of NTT’s two teams, with Shining Arc set to remain professional.

He will likely become one of the best-paid players in the world as a result, with an estimated salary in excess of £900,000 (€1.07m).

Asie Rugby wrote: “Contract agreement imminent for scrum half Faf de Klerk with Yokohama. The South African international (36 caps) will form the hinge of the Eagles with the Japanese international opener Yu Tamura (68 caps).”

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De Klerk – who joined Sale at the start of the 2017-18 Premiership Rugby season – will be leaving the club a year earlier than planned, having originally been contracted to 2023.

To date, de Klerk has made 95 appearances for Sharks since joining from South African side Golden Lions, scoring 14 tries and 39 conversions in his 241 points for the club.

When speaking with RugbyPass, Alex Sanderson praised the legacy De Klerk and his fellow South Africans have left at the club. “There is a no-nonsense, gritty physicality about South Africans, a hard-working, gritty physicality which dovetails with the archetypal northern stereotype. It’s been a good place, it’s as much a place they have brought on and grown, it’s a good home for that type of person anyway. That is why they fitted in so well. the legacy? Faf, as good as he is in the breakdown, is still superphysical and competitive and aggressive. The legacy of all that South African influence will continue to run deep in whatever side Sale manages to put out next season.”

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