The Faf de Klerk verdict on Wallabies rookie Tate McDermott
Faf de Klerk isn’t taking anything leisurely on his return to the Springboks XV, the seasoned World Cup winner reckoning he will have to be on his game to neuter the influence of Tate McDermott, the rookie lining up opposite him for the Wallabies. It was only last year on Dave Rennie’s watch when the 22-year-old burst onto the Test scene and Sunday on the Gold Coast will be his first encounter with the South African.
It was July 31 in Cape Town when de Klerk, the soon-to-be 30-year-old, won the last of his 32 caps as a leg muscle strain ruled him out of the Test series decider versus the Lions and the follow-up two games in Port Elizabeth against Argentina.
However, he is now back fit and restored to the Springboks XV for Sunday’s Rugby Championship resumption against a Wallabies line-up showing continued faith in young half-back McDermott who is winning his ninth cap. “He is a great, exciting young player,” enthused de Klerk.
“He is really threatening around the rucks, he is a good player to watch. He is the sort of No9 Australia wants now – they want a guy that is really threatening and even Nic White backing him up, it’s a massive challenge on defence. I am excited to see how he can grow and improve on his game play.”
Sunday will be the Springboks’ first away Test match since their November 2019 World Cup final win over England in Japan. With five wins in six recent outings since their early July to the international arena following a 20-month layoff, the Springboks are tipped to get one over the Wallabies, who have lost three on the bounce to the All Blacks since their narrow home series win over France.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) September 9, 2021
De Klerk, though, has played down the favourites tag, highlighting instead the exhaustive way Australia are going about their business in the Rennie era. “We are under no illusion what a great side Australia is having watched those games, seeing how close they are to actually win those games if a few things went their way, a few passes stuck it maybe could have been a different result,” he insisted.
“From personal experience playing over here, it is always unbelievably tough, always a massive physical challenge. Especially now the way Australia are playing these days, trying to almost run you off your feet, it will be a massive challenge for us defensively. They are a bunch of proud guys and they are going to come out with everything they have. We are under no illusion that we are going to get the best out of them. We know if we don’t bring our best we are probably going to get a hiding in this game.”
The veteran 2007 World Cup winner is officially back in franchise rugby in South Africa https://t.co/RgEzSsaAZR
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) September 10, 2021
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now