Ex-Bok warns Rassie over Faf, Willie

Cape Town - A former Springbok with first-hand knowledge of the English game has warned national coach Rassie Erasmus to think twice before picking a handful of players playing in the Aviva Premiership.

READ: Springbok fullback is Wasps fans’ favourite player

It’s become clear in recent months that Erasmus is eager to call on the services of several players plying their trade at overseas clubs.

He even managed to convince SA Rugby to relax its 30-Test cap eligibility rule.

Reports over the past months indicated that Erasmus was eager to pick English-based scrumhalf Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks) and fullback Willie le Roux (Wasps).

Loose forward Ruan Ackermann has also impressed since joining his dad Johan at Gloucester.

However, former Springbok prop Cobus Visagie has expressed doubts whether the above-mentioned players will prove successful in a Springbok jersey.

Visagie, who played 121 games for Saracens and still lives in England, told Netwerk24 that he’s not so sure if De Klerk will be able to boost the Boks as much as he did Sale.

De Klerk was recently named 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.

“I think Faf is a good competitor, but you have to measure the award in the context of the club that he plays for. They always finish in mid-table. There he plays in a similar way as he did at the Lions and he was less successful when he last played for the Boks. I’m not sure he’s better than the scrumhalves currently playing in South Africa.”

De Klerk played 11 Tests for the Springboks in 2016 but was not picked for the duration of the 2017 season. He joined Gloucester from the Lions last year.

Visagie also has doubts over players like Le Roux and Ackermann.

Le Roux joined Wasps in 2017, with the last of his 41 Tests coming in the shock 20-18 defeat to Italy in Florence in 2016.

“The attacking style at Wasps fits him like a glove. The question with him remains how good his defence under pressure is...” Visagie said of Le Roux.

Visagie said it would be tough for a player like Ackermann, who can also play lock, to crack the nod ahead of local players like Jean-Luc du Preez and Pieter-Steph du Toit.

One player Visagie would however pick for the Boks is Saracens tighthead prop Vincent Koch.

“He’s having a brilliant season and I regard him highly as a player,” Visagie added.

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