Faf de Klerk, scrum-half for South Africa: “We can get Dupont”

Home » Faf de Klerk, scrum-half for South Africa: “We can get Dupont”
Faf de Klerk, scrum-half for South Africa: “We can get Dupont”

“You find Saturday against France an incumbent role which has often eluded you in recent months. What does this mean to you ?
It is very important for me. I’ve had ups and downs this season. But it made me realize what that Springboks jersey meant to me. Coming off the bench, I had a different role, and we are all there to serve the team, so I was doing what we needed. But becoming a starter again is strong, it’s up to me to make sure to stay there, or to push hard to get it back.

Against Australia, France used the foot game a lot. Are you expecting the same orgy on Saturday night?
We talked a lot about that, the number of times they use kicking. It’s strange ! This way of parking everyone in the middle of the field to wait for you. From what we have analyzed, yes, we expect a lot of foot use from them. We will have to answer them… in a certain way! Perhaps not on the same patterns as those they use, but perhaps by offering them more aerial duels, because they play rather long, and it is also by playing long that Australia had chosen to retaliate. We don’t necessarily want to get into this fight. If necessary, we will, but we have a plan for that, and above all, we are stronger when we play on foot to challenge the ball on the fallout, it allows us to use our system to get the ball out of it. better.

“If we manage to put him on the back foot, offer him some things he is not used to”

You briefly met Antoine Dupont in 2018, during France – South Africa where he was a substitute. How do you judge its evolution since?
We were talking about it with Cheslin (Kolbe, former teammate of Dupont in Toulouse), he was already playing very well in 2018, for his club. If you look at how the France team plays, they try to keep their forwards close to him, they don’t try to touch their opener much, they use those big guys to carry the ball and get in the lead, which which opens spaces for him. And since he is super fast and strong, we will have to be very good in these sectors on Saturday! But we have smart forwards who can handle all that around the rucks.

Do you consider Dupont to be the best scrum half in the world right now?
Yes we can say it! And in addition he received the title of best player of the year 2021, so it’s him! We were able to watch his match last week: Australia knew how to put him under pressure, so we can get him. But he plays in a great team, he is full of confidence. If we manage to put him on the back foot, offer him some stuff he’s not used to… But it won’t be easy to stop him!

With Australia, his vis-à-vis, Nic White, was very aggressive on Dupont. Is this a path for you to follow?
We have a slightly different defensive system from that of the Wallabies. It’s clear that they had asked Nic White to take care of him, but we trust our own organization, and if I find myself in a situation that requires it, I will do my best. We can find ourselves close to each other on conquest phases or rucks, but in the current game, that will not always be the case. So it will be a collective effort and above all, we can’t just focus on him. There are many other strengths in them that you will have to pay attention to! »

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