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Sale Sharks lock De Jager turns back on SA return - reports

By Ian Cameron
Lood de Jager challenges for Dave Attwood in a lineout /PA

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Sale Sharks lock Lood de Jager has apparently turned his back on a return to South African rugby – according to reports.

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It was confirmed earlier this month that the giant second row was leaving Manchester alongside fellow Springboks teammate Faf de Klerk, one of the worst-kept secrets in rugby. With Sale feeling both the Gallagher Premiership salary cap squeeze, as well as the loss of one of each side’s two marque player allotments, De Jager’s time in Sale was always going to come to an end sooner rather than later.

The former Vodacom Bulls forward had been linked with a return to his alma mater under head coach Jake White, while the DHL Stormers had also courted the 6’9, 125kg World Cup winner. Yet it now seems neither side has won his signature.

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According to Rapport, De Jager will be instead heading to an as-yet-unnamed club in Japan.

De Jager, 29, has played 27 times for the club, scoring four tries, since he joined from the Pretoria-based Bulls after the 2019 World Cup. Both he and De Klerk played in their country’s third World Cup final victory in 2019 over England.

The 29-year-old started his career with the Toyota Cheetahs, where he went on to make 40 Super Rugby appearances for the Bloemfontein-based outfit He was rewarded for his outstanding form in 2015, winning the prestigious SA Rugby Player of the Year award.

De Klerk is also on his way to the Far East.

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Originally earmarked for the NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes in Osaka, it was reported last week 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).

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