Just prior to the World Cup an illustrious British newspaper listed Faf de Klerk as the only South African in their “Top 20 Best Players at the World Cup.” That would have been based on De Klerk’s form for Sale Sharks in the English Premiership and for the Boks in 2018.
Unfortunately, the 27-year-old has not lived up to that billing in Japan. De Klerk has been the butt of a host of jokes around his ceaseless kicking in the opening match against the All Blacks, but I have no issue with that because he was following instructions.
My problem is that his kicks were not accurate enough. De Klerk is not a skilful kicker and he is not being allowed to play his natural game of sniping around the rucks. In the play-offs, the kicking strategy is going to continue, and Rassie will again pick Faf to do it.
The coach is not going to make a change in a vital position at this stage of the game but if he knew at the start of the tournament what he knows now, he might have selected differently.