Faf still part of Lions plans

    2017-05-10 16:33

    Johannesburg - There is only one Faf and he is certainly still in the Lions plans.

    That’s the word from Lions coach Johan Ackermann despite the halfback Faf de Klerk being left out of the match 23 for the second week in a row and speculation that the Springbok halfback, who was reported to have signed a contract with English club Sale Sharks for a mega-figure, was on the outside.

    Ackermann told that there shouldn’t be anything read into De Klerk not being selected for the matches against the Rebels and Brumbies while the Lions are on tour.

    “I’m not sure why there is speculation,” Ackermann said.

    “There has been a lot of pressure on Faf from the beginning of the year as a Springbok in any case, and he will be the first one to admit he wasn’t at his best at times. But we support him all the way, he is a player with the X-factor in our team and he is still a key player in our team. I made it clear in front of the whole team that Faf still has a major role to play in our season and there is only one of him. He can lift the tempo on the field.”

    Ackermann said De Klerk’s decision to take up the offer at Sale would never be held against him.

    “As a coach the last thing I would do is to hold something like that against him,” Ackermann added, “That isn’t the reason he isn’t in the match 23. We kept continuity with Ross (Cronje) – he did have a week off at a stage when he didn’t play at all. Dillon (Smit) gives us a lot of options as well. He has played wing for the Pukke and Leopards. He has played fullback. So we decided that for this specific game to put Dillon on the bench because he can cover more than one position.

    “There is definitely going to be a time when Faf will play a role, whether it is from the bench or to start. This competition is such that especially at nine there is a lot of hard work to be done, to keep players fresh. In the front row as well, and that is why we always try and rotate those positions.

    “There is nothing as good as making a player hungry again as well and I’m sure he will grab the opportunity as well. He definitely has a major role by us. We will help him get back into the team and he is working hard on fixing the things we want him to fix.

    “But there is only one Faf, that can lift the tempo and bring his individual brilliance to the field. He is a major part of this team’s spirit. We love him and there is definitely no bad feelings anywhere.”

    De Klerk is set to return to the side when they get back to South Africa.

    Read the story on

    What To Read Next

    Read News24’s Comments Policy

    Live Video Streaming
    Video Highlights
    Sport Talk


    Friday, 26 May 2017
    • Blues v Chiefs, Eden Park 09:35
    • Reds v Force, Suncorp Stadium 11:45
    Saturday, 27 May 2017
    • Sunwolves v Cheetahs, Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium 07:15
    • Highlanders v Waratahs, Forsyth Barr Stadium 09:35
    • Rebels v Crusaders, AAMI Park 11:45
    • Bulls v Hurricanes, Loftus Versfeld 15:05
    • Sharks v Stormers, Growthpoint Kings Park 17:15
    • Jaguares v Brumbies, Estadio Jose Amalfitani 23:40
    Sunday, 28 May 2017
    • Lions v Kings, Emirates Airlines Park 14:30


    21 May 2017
    20 May 2017
    19 May 2017
    13 May 2017
    12 May 2017
    06 May 2017
    05 May 2017
    30 April 2017
    29 April 2017
    28 April 2017
    22 April 2017
    21 April 2017
    15 April 2017
    14 April 2017
    09 April 2017
    08 April 2017
    07 April 2017
    02 April 2017
    01 April 2017
    31 March 2017
    25 March 2017
    24 March 2017
    18 March 2017
    17 March 2017
    11 March 2017
    10 March 2017
    04 March 2017
    03 March 2017
    02 March 2017
    25 February 2017
    24 February 2017
    23 February 2017


    Rank Team P W Pts

    Opinion Poll

    SA Rugby need to cut two Super Rugby teams for next year's tournament. Help them out!

    The ultimate Super Rugby quiz!

    There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.