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By Derek Alberts
Playing in a top flight European rugby competition certainly has its benefits as a herd of Springboks beefing up the Sale Sharks in Manchester can attest.
Seven of the nine South Africans on the books of the UK Premiership side have been called up for national duty, ahead of the southern hemisphere Rugby Championship in November and December, as reported by Rugby365.com.
Of the seven Springboks, only feisty World Cup winning scrumhalf Faf de Klerk can lay claim to a regular place in the starting line-up. The other six have fallen off the radar of the South African coaching staff well before the World Cup tournament in Japan last year.
“In an irony KwaZulu-Natal Sharks supporters will appreciate, five of the seven Sale Sharks destined for the Bok training camp, traded the sub-tropical shores of Durban for the northeast of England before last year’s World Cup tournament.”
But the performance of centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg, prop Coenie Oosthuizen, hooker Akker van der Merwe, the loosefoward twins of Dan and Jean-luc du Preez, and their older brother Rob at number 10, have made waves at the Sharks. Currently second on the Premiership log, the Sharks’ showing has been attributed to the impact of the Bok contingent, a matter close to the heart of Springbok assistant coach Felix Jones who is based in Dublin to monitor the European-based players.
In an irony KwaZulu-Natal Sharks supporters will appreciate, five of the seven Sale Sharks players destined for the Bok training camp, traded the sub-tropical shores of Durban for the northwest of England before the World Cup tournament last year.
Sale Sharks coach Steve Diamond, an outspoken fan of Springbok recruitment, will have the pleasure of the only South Africans not making the trip home, flanker Cobus Wiese and World Cup winning lock Lood de Jager who injured his shoulder against Leicester.
In the absence of the heavy artillery, Diamond will call on his “Dirty Dozen” mid-week squad to keep up the Sharks’ challenge for silverware
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