Cape Town - Springbok scrumhalf Faf de Klerk says he has improved tactically as a player since moving to English club Sale Sharks in 2017.
De Klerk is expected to start at scrumhalf for the Springboks in Saturday’s first Test against England at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.
It will be his first Test since 2016 - a year in which De Klerk earned all 11 of his Test caps.
It was a horror season for the Boks and De Klerk was one of the casualties as he was left out of the Springbok squad for the entire 2017 season.
His game management came under the spotlight but the decision to move from the Lions to Sale has reaped rewards, De Klerk feels.
The 26-year-old addressed reporters in Johannesburg on Tuesday where he said he had become a more rounded player in England.
“The move to Sale has really paid off in the sense that I’ve added a lot more to my game,” De Klerk said.
At the Lions, De Klerk was renowned for his running game but he believes his tactical kicking has improved markedly in England.
“I learned a lot overseas, that is when to kick and when to run. Perhaps in the past, I was too balls-to-the-wall in terms of wanting to attack,” he said.
“I was given a lot of responsibility in terms of game management. They (Sale) relied on me to make the exit kicks.”
De Klerk’s impressive form at Sale saw him awarded the club’s Player of the Year award for the 2017/18 season, while he was also voted as the Fans Player of the Season.
He was also named in the Premiership 'Team of the Year', alongside fellow Springbok Willie le Roux.