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De Klerk says Springboks motivated to ‘prove world wrong’

TOKYO (AFP) – An energised Faf de Klerk has warned that South Africa are ready to “prove the world wrong” by retaining their Rugby World Cup crown.

The feisty scrum-half with the flowing blonde hair is one of rugby’s most recognisable players and was key to the Springboks’ World Cup triumph in Japan four years ago.

He is now playing for Yokohama Canon Eagles after leaving England’s Sale Sharks last year and was one of nine Japan-based players on South Africa’s tour of Europe last year. De Klerk told AFP that Japan’s comparatively shorter league season means he is feeling “much better off” physically and believes the Springboks will benefit at the World Cup in France this autumn.

“If you peak too early you will burn out,” the 31-year-old said. “I feel in a good spot considering when I was coming from Sale after a long season going into Springbok games, sort of just hanging on by a thread most weeks. I feel much better.”

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