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'Well done': Title-chasing Sale hailed as club with third-highest Springboks pick

By Liam Heagney

Trending on RugbyPass

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Rassie Erasmus has hailed the Mancunian flavour to his Springboks squad to face the Lions as five of Alex Sanderson’s Gallagher Premiership title-chasing Sale Sharks gained inclusion on Saturday in a 46-strong squad selection featuring players from 19 different clubs spread across five different countries.

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Twenty-four picks were South African based, eight in France, seven in England, five in Japan and two in Ireland. Of that, the Durban-based Sharks had the greatest club representation, accounting for nine players, while the next best were the Stormers with eight.

Then came Sale with the third-largest representation of five, the World Cup-winning pair Faf de Klerk and Lood de Jager joined in the Springboks squad by 30-cap Coenie Oosthuizen, four-cap Dan du Preez and 13-cap Jean-Luc du Preez, a trio that wouldn’t have been involved when South Africa were conquering the world and defeating England in Japan in November 2019.

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With just a single Sale player – Tom Curry – earning selection in Warren Gatland’s Lions squad, the five-strong Sharks contingent chosen by the Springboks underlined the influence that South Africa wields in the Premiership.

“The nice thing about the Sale set-up is there are a lot of South African guys who have played and been in the mix, and now Jean-Luc and his brother and Connie are also in the mix. It hasn’t always been a lot but these are guys we think that are in sync, guys we have access to, guys that play regularly with Faf,” explained Erasmus at his squad announcement media conference.

“When guys are playing a game plan and you have to rely on a nine who in the Springboks, let’s say with Jean-Luc, Dan and Connie, they are three new guys but they must jump together in the lineout and scrum together and then in general play they must mix with Faf, so it makes sense for us in that regard and especially because we feel the high performance programme at Sale is really good.

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“Look, it’s terrible to lose the players (to non-South African clubs) because we don’t have the money. We desperately want to keep them but when you lose them you lose to a club like that where there are a lot of other South Africans and they are coached well, well done to Sale.

“There are a few guys that are unlucky like Akker (van der Merwe), (Rohan) Janse van Rensburg was injured at one stage so there is still a lot of boys that one day might make it in the next two or three years but we are very chuffed with what is going on at Sale.”

The Springboks’ other English-based picks were Saracens tighthead Vincent Koch and uncapped Leicester No8 Jasper Wiese. Montpellier were the dominant French club, providing three players in the uncapped Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, Cobus Reinach and Handre Pollard, while the two Irish-based players were the Munster duo, RG Snyman and Damian de Allende.

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'Well done': Title-chasing Sale hailed as club with third-highest Springboks pick

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