Sale Sharks boss Alex Sanderson has praised outgoing scrum-half Faf de Klerk, after the South African played his last game for the club in their 42-19 win over Bristol.
After joining the Sharks in 2017, De Klerk returned to form and was called up to the Springbok squad, where he has been an integral part ever since.
The 30-year-old has signed with the Yokohama Canon Eagles and will join the Japanese club at the start of next season.
left its mark
Sanderson called the South African ‘special’ and admitted there will always be an aspect of De Klerk in Sale’s DNA.
“Special people leave an indelible mark on you as a person and as an organization,” Sanderson said.
“As he continues and moves on, I wish him all the best for him and his future wife.
“There will be a bit of him that will always be part of Sale’s DNA, so we thank him for that.”
Sanderson believes the South African players played a key role in putting Sale on the map with the young ‘northern talent’ coming through.
“The South Africans going there have been an integral part of putting Sale on the map, it’s now up to us and those young guys – and that group of talent from the North – who were all on display today. Those guys have to take care of it.
Sale finished sixth on the table, just five points off the top four in a season where Sanderson felt there was progress.
“There has been a bit of growth. There has been a bit more evolution than originally expected, rather than revolution,” he said.
“Looking back, it’s been a successful season. There’s a bit of sadness when you don’t get what you want, but it’s only when you look back that you realize the friendships you had and how you grew.
“You have to be happy – rather than being a little sour that we didn’t make the play-offs. You have to see that as a whole.”