In this week’s column for Independent Media’s IOL I’m saluting Springbok Faf De Klerk following his man of the match performance on Saturday but equally bemoaning England for their cowardly ploy to target the scrum half with late hits.
A salute to the combined and individual efforts of the three foreign-based Springboks in Duane Vermeulen, Faf de Klerk and Willie le Roux. Their influence was colossal in South Africa’s win against England. De Klerk and Le Roux produced arguably their best ever Bok performances and Vermeulen towered above every other forward in his all-round contribution.
Bok coach Rassie Erasmus got it spot on with his selection of the trio. De Klerk and Le Roux are more complete players now than when they left SA, and Vermeulen commands presence and respect from his teammates and the opposition. This was a statement that the right foreign-based players strengthen the Boks.
England’s deliberate ploy to target De Klerk with late hits was as stupid as it was cowardly. It contributed towards them losing the Test. Each late hit was penalised and the third one resulted in a yellow card. De Klerk, half the size of Maro Itoje and Mako Vunipola, stood firm despite the illegal tackles.
England coach Eddie Jones spoke of the ill-discipline of his team, but that ill-discipline was premeditated and Jones, as coach, is as culpable as the dumbies who were so blatant and obvious in putting in the late hits.
To read the rest of my rants and raves following the first internationals of the Southern Hemisphere test season, visit iol.co.za