JOHANNESBURG – Scrumhalf Faf de Klerk has become the first high-profile player to follow his coach Johan Ackermann to England.
But where Ackermann has joined Gloucester, De Klerk has reportedly signed up with Sale Sharks on a three-year deal.
De Klerk shot to prominence last season after a stellar Super Rugby campaign with the Lions and played 11 Tests for the Springboks.
He, however, failed to replicate his Super Rugby form for the Boks and was left out of a Bok training camp earlier this season; with national coach Allister Coetzee seemingly looking at picking a new No 9 for the Boks this year.
The 25-year-old De Klerk is said to have signed a three-year deal and will replace the retiring Mike Phillips and Peter Stringer in the Sale team.
Another former Lions player – and captain – Josh Strauss is believed to also be on his way to the Sharks – from Edinburgh – while former Blue Bulls captain Jono Ross is also headed to Sale.
De Klerk, despite having a contract with the Lions until the end of next season, is believed to have secured an early release which will see him team up with his new outfit at the end of the current Super Rugby season, should he not be involved with the Springboks.
Ackermann, too, will leave at the end of the Super Rugby campaign.