Bok scrumhalf relishes Sharks' muddy puddle
INTERVIEW: South Africa scrumhalf Francois de Klerk can't wait to make his Premiership debut for Sale Sharks, but admits he just needs to master his muddy puddle skills before jumping into action.
The 25-year-old Springboks scrumhalf is one of several high-profile signings who have helped bolster the Sharks’ squad ahead of the new campaign.
De Klerk linked up with his new Sale teammates earlier this month after being part of the Lions outfit which reached the Super Rugby final where they lost out to Crusader in the Super Rugby finals.
It has been a whirlwind few weeks but with Sale preparing to launch the new season away at Wasps this Saturday, de Klerk said he was loving life with the Sharks.
"I’ve settled in really well and all the guys have been very welcoming,” De Klerk said.
"I’ve been staying with Johnno Ross at his place and I’ve really enjoyed it and I’m not missing home yet - even the weather has been great!
"I’m moving into my new apartment today which is close to the city centre. I already love Manchester - it's a great city with lots of things to offer.
"I came straight from the Super Rugby final and joined up with the boys when they were out in France for the friendly with Castres.
"The body is still fresh as I came off the bench a lot in the last stretch of the Super Rugby season and I’m really looking forward to the start of the Premiership season.
"In South Africa, I watched a lot of the Premiership on TV and you only have to look at the England Rugby team and how well they have been doing to realise the strength of the league.
"I also think it will fit into my style but I will also need to learn how to play in the mud and the rain when that comes - that is going to be another challenge for me to work on and master.
"I’m also looking forward to travelling around and seeing new places. That’s part of what’s so exciting about coming to a new club like Sale."
De Klerk’s arrival, along with several other exciting signings, has only added to the sense of optimism around Sale ahead of the new campaign.
And from what he has seen on the training paddock in his first month at the club, with Sale gaining impressive pre-season victories over Castres and Edinburgh, de Klerk - who has won 11 caps so far for South Africa - shares that feeling.
"I’m very excited about what we can do this season. We’ve been playing very well in pre-season, the guys have also been training really very well and are focused," de Klerk added.
"I was really excited to take part in the win at Edinburgh and I’m very excited to see where we can go this year.
"There's a really good bunch of lads here and the club has made several good signings. Everyone is really enjoying each other’s company and it's coming together well.
"I’m going to have to adjust quickly here but, luckily, the way we want to play is something that I’m used to - we want to play quick rugby and score tries but there will also come a stage where we will need to play more tactically so I’m really excited about the challenge.
"Speaking the same language is also a big help for me. Luckily, I don’t think my English is too bad so that helps a lot.
"Everyone here speaks English - I can’t understand a lot of them sometimes! - but it' has been fine,"