'He's on social media the whole time, looking at the videos'
Faf de Klerk was quick off the mark at the midweek Springboks media conference, getting a tongue-in-cheek dig in on Lukhanyo Am as soon as the first question at the virtually held session went the way of the midfielder. Am has lately become as much a treasured presence in the Springboks XV as de Klerk, moulding an enviable centre partnership with Damian de Allende, and his form has been the subject of much praise.
It is an approval he is very much modest about, but de Klerk cut him off on the Gold Coast before he could answer a query about becoming so adept at his role in the South African side. “He is on social media the whole time, looking at the videos,” quipped de Klerk, bringing some humour to the proceedings ahead of the Springboks’ first away Test match since defeating England in Japan in the 2019 World Cup final.
Am was a star in that decider, delivering a bag of tricks that make the rugby world sit up and take notice, and the 27-year-old has been relishing South Africa’s recent return to the international arena which has featured a series win over the Lions and a decent start to the Rugby Championship versus Argentina.
“We have been taking our opportunity to play for the country so it has been really good since we got back playing Test matches again,” he enthused. “My role in the team is definitely to bring my best at all times. We have managed as a team to pick up where we finished the last time we played which was the World Cup. We have got a very good spirit in the team and that gives opportunities for every individual to showcase their performances.
“In South Africa, we have been blessed in having great players, especially in our centres and the backline, and our generation has taken over that responsibility. We feel we are doing a good job and we definitely strive to do better at all times.
The seasoned Springboks No9 is back fit for Sunday's Rugby Championship resumption and he has assessed the threat he faces going up against the Wallabies youngster #AUSvRSA #RugbyChampionshiphttps://t.co/1T2iCgrRWk
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) September 10, 2021
“I have played with Damian now for over four years and I have gained better experience. We have learned and got a feel for each other. That is one of the key things, giving the best we can to the team and it’s working really well. We are aligned, know what we are good at and know what we need to work on. We always keep ourselves on our jobs.
“As a new player coming into Test match rugby (in 2017) there is definitely a huge step comparing it to local competition or franchise rugby. For me, it was really nice coming into a group where there were a lot of experienced players around me which made my job relatively easier turning experience from training camps into Test matches. The shared experience of the group gave me all the bits and pieces that I have learned.”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) September 9, 2021
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now