VIDEO: Tapping into the deep well of Willie’s wisdom

Early in the United Rugby Championship, Sebastian de Klerk made it clear why commentators had been raving about him following his Currie Cup adventures with the Pumas over the previous two years.

After completing his off-season relocation from Nelspruit to Pretoria, De Klerk demonstrated that he is not a “flash in the pan.”

The 23-year-old said he is “enjoying” the change from competing in the Currie Cup and winning with the Pumas in 2022 to competing in the URC on the European scene.

Regarding his seven URC appearances this season, which resulted in 338 meters from 48 carries and two tries, he remarked, “The game is faster.”

This past weekend, he played off the bench against the Sharks after starting the first six rounds. World Cup winners Kurt-Lee Arendse and Canan Moodie started on the wings, and late in the second half, De Klerk took Stedman Gans’ place as the outside center.

“You get a chance to compare yourself to the best,” he said in an interview with @rugby365com prior to Saturday’s Champions Cup Round One matchup at Loftus Versfeld against the English powerhouses Saracens.

“It enables you to consider the areas where you previously believed you were competent but now recognize you fall short.”

After missing eight months due to an injury, De Klerk stated he needed to work on both his aerial and decision-making abilities before joining the Bulls.

The youthful flyer, who is also comfortable playing as an outside center, stated that contestable kicking is much more crucial in European competitions.

The arrival of several World Cup-winning Springs—Kurt-Lee Arendse, Canan Moodie, and most importantly, Willie le Roux—is hastening his growth as a player who may eventually be called up to play for his country.

Johan Goosen in the backline and Embrose Papier, two other players with international experience, he continued, also provide genuine value.

But the most invaluable guidance has come from utility back Willie le Roux, who has been capped 93 times.

He told @rugby365com, “It’s nice to hear how they handled things in the Springbok camp. I also like hearing their thought processes about various scenarios.”

“I really like the way they act both on and off the field.

“You want to be at a union where there’s competition for spots and Springboks.”

He claimed that Le Roux carries a wealth of knowledge about the game with him because of his experience.

He described the player as “very smart,” adding that “he gives you so much information.”

“His excellent and transparent communication made my first week of training with him feel like I had trained with him a hundred times.”

“Having completed nearly 100 Test caps, he has encountered so many scenarios that he is well-aware of what will happen if he or I take a certain action.

“He makes numerous minor contributions that a less experienced person might overlook.

“He assists the coaches greatly and has witnessed every situation.

“He greatly strengthened our team.”

Born in April 2000 in Cape Town, De Klerk attended Hoër Landbouskool in Paarl. He made his Pumas debut in the 2020–21 Currie Cup season, and he started in the Final the following year when the Nelspruit team made history by winning their first title in Kimberley against Griquas.

He played 21 times for the Nelspruit outfit and made his URC debut for the Bulls in the 63-21 demolition of the Scarlets in Round One on October 22.


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