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Sale statement: De Klerk and de Jager will leave at end of season

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

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Sale have confirmed one of the worst-kept secrets in English rugby – that Springboks World Cup winners Faf de Klerk and Lood de Jager will leave the club at the end of the current season. Scrum-half de Klerk has made 95 appearances for Sharks since joining from South African side Golden Lions ahead of the 2017/18 Premiership season, scoring 14 tries and 39 conversions in his 241 points for the club.

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De Jager, 29, has played 25 times for the club, scoring three tries, since he joined from the Pretoria-based Vodacom Bulls after the 2019 World Cup. Both players played in their country’s third World Cup victory in 2019, with de Klerk starting at scrum-half and de Jager starting in the second row in the match against an England side featuring Sale teammate Tom Curry.

The pair also played key roles for Sharks last season as the club finished third in the Gallagher Premiership and reached the playoffs for the first time in 15 years.

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An injury picked up in the 2021 British and Irish Lions series forced der Klerk to miss the start of the current Premiership season, but since returning to fitness he has made nine appearances, scoring one try in a 26-24 win against Gloucester Rugby at the AJ Bell Stadium.

De Jager, who has played 53 times for South Africa, missed the end of last season after suffering a broken leg in training.

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But after returning to play in the British and Irish Lions series, he carried that momentum into the current season, and his 14 appearances for Sharks – ten in the Premiership and four in the Champions Cup – have helped propel the club into playoff contention once again. The exits of de Jager and de Klerk, though, are yet another example of how the reduced salary cap is biting in the English game.

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A Sale statement read: “Everyone at Sale Sharks would like to thank Faf and Lood for their huge contribution to the club over the past five years and we wish them all the very best for the future.”

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