Former All Blacks fly-half Stephen Donald said he has “no issue” with Faf de Klerk being selected to start for the Springboks against New Zealand this weekend.
The fiery scrum-half returns to the starting line-up after the promising Jaden Hendrickse was preferred for the decisive third Test against Wales in July.
Coach Jacques Nienaber said De Klerk’s selection was based on experience and the qualities he can offer, which suits their plan against the All Blacks.
Kicking consistency in the spotlight
The 2011 World Cup winner believes that if the Springboks kick too long, it could spell danger, giving the All Blacks back three time and space.
“I’ve got no issue if they pick Faf [De Klerk] because he can have rough days,” Donald said on SENZ The Run Home radio show.
“He is not the likes of a Fourie du Preez who could put every single box kick on a 10-cent piece.
“This guy can have erratic kicking nights, and if his box kicks are too long, if they’re too short but particularly if they’re too long, it will give Will Jordan, Jordie Barrett, and Sevu Reece time and space.
“As soon as they get time and space, that’s when we’ll worry the South Africans.”
Pressurise the half-backs
Donald believes the key to downing the Springboks would be to put pressure on the Springboks’ half-back pairing, including Handre Pollard, who the former All Black believes is not in “vintage form” either.
“So you put pressure on Faf de Klerk, you put pressure on Handré Pollard, who isn’t in vintage form at the moment coming back from a serious injury, but Faf’s the one that I reckon we can get to,” he said.
“You get to Faf de Klerk and then suddenly his kicks – too long, too short; that’s where we can make them pay and that’s where you can take them out of their comfort zone.
“As soon as they can’t get to rucks to then bring their line speed, a lot of their game is gone.”