Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

Faf de Klerk embracing bench role as part of the Bok bomb squad

“We all have a role whether starting or off the bench, we are not just injury replacements."

Springbok scrumhalf Faf de Klerk is embracing his role as an impact player off the bench as part of the Bok bomb squad ahead of the team’s Rugby Championship match against Argentina on Saturday.

De Klerk has been the Boks’ first choice scrumhalf since Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber took over the national team’s reins in 2018, but has this season been displaced by Jaden Hendrikse, leaving De Klerk to take up the unfamiliar role of playing off the bench.

Boks v Argentina Hendrikse
Jaden Hendrikse is the Boks’ first choice scrumhalf. Picture: Gallo Images

De Klerk believes that bench players have just as important a role to play as starters and he is enjoying the challenge.

“We know what our role is when we come off the bench. There is a lot said to us, especially in my position this weekend it might be to speed up the game or to try and get a controlling aspect on the scoreboard, whether we are chasing or building on a lead,” explained De Klerk.

“So that will play a part in how I play when I come on. That is going to be really important this weekend, to read the game situation and go from there. 

“We all have a role whether starting or off the bench, we are not just injury replacements. So we are just as focused coming off the bench as if we are starting. There is a lot of responsibility on the guys finishing the game and I think it is going to be massive this weekend playing Argentina at home.”

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De Klerk is impressed by the big strides that Argentina have taken in recent times, with them becoming a major player on the world rugby stage.

“I think they have become a lot more consistent in their play, especially (in their series win) against Scotland and then beating Australia and New Zealand. It definitely shows that they are improving in all aspects of their game,” said De Klerk.

Boks v Argentina players celebrate in Christchurch
Argentina players celebrate their win against the All Blacks in Christchurch a few weeks ago. Picture: Joe Allison/Getty Images

“They have always been a physical side, their set pieces are good and now they are adding a kicking game to their play. They have loads of players playing in successful clubs overseas, which gives them confidence and that winning culture.

“So there has definitely been a steady rise to their play and I believe they have risen to the occasion and become a top side in world rugby.”

NOW READ: Nienaber happy Bok fringe players to get game time

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