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De Klerk confident Springboks will deal with Dupont threat

De Klerk confident Springboks will deal with Dupont threat

2022 Bank of Ireland Nations Series, Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland 5/11/2022 Ireland vs South Africa South Africa’s Faf de Klerk Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Faf de Klerk has put his faith in the collective ahead of facing World Player of the Year Antoine Dupont when South Africa lock horns with France on Saturday.

The Springboks scrum-half is given a starting berth after his impressive cameo in the 19-16 defeat to Ireland last weekend.

But a tough challenge awaits the 31-year-old with all eyes on how Jacques Nienaber’s team will deal with the devastating Dupont in Marseille.

The Toulouse half-back has never been on the winning side against South Africa and De Klerk is confident the team will make sure it stays that way.

“If I get the chance to get close to him, I’ll try whatever I can to stop him. We do have a different defensive system [from Australia],” said De Klerk.

“I think they may have told Nick White to take care of him, but we’re sticking to our system and once we get the opportunity to stop him, I will do my best.

“In general play, we’re not always going to be close to each other, so it’s going to be a team effort to ensure he’s taken care of.

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“However, when you look at their side, we can’t just be worried about him. They have other strengths that we need to take care of.”

Preferred to Jaden Hendrikse on the occasion of his 40th cap, De Klerk said his turbulent year punctuated by injury has made him appreciate the call even more.

“It means a heck of a lot to me,” De Klerk said. “This year has been up and down for me.

“Being picked to start once more has given me that realisation again of what the jersey means to me.

“Playing off the bench in the last few games meant I had a different role, and I was happy to do it because it is all about the team and the job that has to be done.

“But starting means a lot and it is up to me to stay there and keep pushing for it going forward.”

France have lost their last seven matches against South Africa but are yet to play them under head coach Fabien Galthie.

The match pits the Guinness Six Nations Grand Slam winners against the reigning world champions and Dupont is expecting a close contest.

He added: “Since the start of Fabien’s time in charge, we’ve not played South Africa, and before then we haven’t been able to beat them for a long time.

“We know the level they have. They are the world champions and they have some very experienced players, really good players, and they know their rugby.

Dylan Cretin and Antoine Dupont celebrate winning

“They have more experience than us but we can’t wait to welcome them to Marseille. It will be a big match which will be very important for us.

“It’s been a while since I played them. At the time [in 2018], I was certainly lacking experience and we probably lacked collective experience as a team.

“We struggled to produce our rugby and when we went over there [in 2017], it was the moment that they managed to put together their best rugby together and it was really tough.

“We know that against South Africa, you have to be ready for the physical challenge. That was the case a few years ago and it will be again in Marseille.”

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