Faf: Bok axing not the reason for my departure
REACTION: Lions scrumhalf Francois de Klerk said being axed from the Springbok squad was not the biggest influence in his decision to leave the country.
De Klerk, who has failed to make the cut for the last two Bok training camps, this week confirmed that he will join English Premiership club Sale Sharks at the end of the Super Rugby season.
De Klerk, joined the Lions in 2014 and has 58 Super Rugby appearances under his belt, said he has put the pending departure behind him and is focussed only on playing his "best rugby" for the Ellis Park-based franchise.
"That did not have a big influence on my decision," De Klerk said, when asked about being axed from the Bok team - after playing in 11 Tests last year, starting in nine of those.
"That [being axed] is the decision of SARU [South African Rugby Union] and I don't have any say in that."
The other issued that weighed heavy on his mind was the fact that he has not played 30 Tests yet, which means he does not qualify to play for the Boks while based abroad.
"It is a great opportunity for me at this stage of my career," he said of the move to England.
"I can always come back and still be able to play, not being that old," the 25-year-old said.
He also revealed that he has not spoken to Springbok coach Allister Coetzee and has not heard from Coetzee at all in regards to the reasons for his axing.
De Klerk said will try to continue playing his style.
"They [Sale Sharks] also want to play the way we [the Lions] play," he said, adding: "They also want to play an expansive game.
"As a No.9 overseas you will have to take more control - especially with kicking and passing is going to be very important."