British & Irish Lions

Six Sale Sharks players - including Du Preez twins - could get Springbok call-ups, coach reveals

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Faf de Klerk (Getty)
Faf de Klerk (Getty)

Sale Sharks director of rugby Alex Sanderson has revealed that six of the English club's South African contingent are in contention to be called up by the Springboks for the British & Irish Lions series.

There are 11 South Africans on Sale's books this season - more than any other English Premiership club.

Sanderson told the BBC that the players in Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber's plans include the Du Preez twins, Dan and Jean-Luc, prop Coenie Oosthuizen, hooker Akker van der Merwe and World Cup winners Faf de Klerk and Lood de Jager.

"I want [Sale's players] to be the best they can be. If that's playing for South Africa or for the Lions then I support both of those things," Sanderson said.

"They are talking to Coenie, Lood, Faf, JL and Dan du Preez, potentially Akker as well moving forward - I think they should, but that's up to them."

Sanderson added that De Jager could be fit in time for the Lions series.

The burly lock has been sidelined since early April when he suffered serious knee injury to his meniscus in a freak training-ground accident.

"In that brief period before he got injured he was without doubt one of the best players I have ever coached," Sanderson added.

"He is brilliant - on and off the field. I can't speak highly enough of the man. He is a brilliant player."

The other five South African players also on Sale's books - but seemingly not in Springbok contention - are flyhalf Robert du Preez, centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg, lock JP du Preez and loose forwards Cobus Wiese and Jono Ross, who is also the team captain.

The Sale Sharks are currently third on the Premiership Rugby standings, with 13 wins from 18 games.

They trail the second-placed Exeter Chiefs by four points and leaders Bristol Bears by 12 points with four regular season matches remaining.

The top tour four teams will contest the semi-finals, before a grand final at Twickenham on 26 June.

Sale's next encounter is away to Bath at the Recreation Ground on Friday night, with kick-off scheduled for 20:45 (SA time).

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