South Africa's Faf de Klerk is relishing the opportunity to be in a World Cup final. Photo: Aaron Favila/AP Photo
South Africa's Faf de Klerk is relishing the opportunity to be in a World Cup final. Photo: Aaron Favila/AP Photo

Faf: Amazing to be in a World Cup final

By wynona louw Time of article published Oct 29, 2019

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England scrumhalf Ben Youngs says he is looking forward to playing against the “busy and confrontational” Faf de Klerk when they meet the Springboks in the World Cup final this Saturday.

The Boks secured their final berth after beating Wales 19-16 in a tough encounter in Yokohama on Sunday, while England completely outplayed the All Blacks in their semi-final to bag a 19-7 victory on Saturday.

On his looming battle with the Bok scrumhalf, who was named Man of the Match over the weekend, Youngs said: “He is a busy guy and likes confrontation. I look forward to playing him and I have had a good few battles with Will Genia and Aaron Smith.”

While De Klerk found it hard to express just how much playing in the final means to the Boks, he also knows there is quite some work to do before the big day.

“It feels amazing. I don’t think there are any words to describe it. It’s a bit surreal being out there and getting the win,” De Klerk said.

“There are a lot of emotions going around, but it’s difficult to celebrate too much. We know there’s one final goal we need to reach.

“I thought we played well (against Wales), we played territory well. Our forwards were absolutely amazing, really abrasive but our penalty count was way too high. If we hadn’t had so many penalties I don’t think we would have let Wales get into our half at all.

“So there’s a lot of things we’ve got to look at with our discipline, especially in play-off games where it’s massive. I think we got a bit lucky with that.

“Most of our penalties were in their half so we didn’t let them get a lot of points out of it.”

As expected, both Wales and South Africa put the ball to boot a lot, and De Klerk’s execution of his box kicks was also much improved.

But there were also a lot of errors from both teams, and looking ahead to their game against Eddie Jones’ troops, De Klerk said the Boks are “definitely” going to have to lift their game.

“I do think we can capitalise a bit more on our opportunities, especially on turnovers, so we are going to have to look at that for the coming week. I’m pretty excited when I get a good kick up in the air and I’ll really start chasing because I know it’s a 50-50 and when we kick well and compete well, we get the odd one falling on our side. I think we got some good purchase from that,” De Klerk said.

“We’re definitely going to have to lift our game. The penalty count was way too high. So if we can get that down and not give England too many 22m entries, that’s going to fall in our favour a lot.

“They had an amazing game against New Zealand and we learned a lot from that, so hopefully we can figure out what they want to do against us and counter that.”


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