Le Roux's mentorship a boost to De Klerk
It isn’t just the Vodacom Bulls management that have been impressed with Willie le Roux’s arrival at Loftus Versfeld, but his experience and enthusiasm is rubbing off on fellow players as well.
The double World Cup winner has had an immediate impact at Loftus, and his Bok back three teammates of Kurt-Lee Arendse and Canan Moodie have flourished alongside the veteran.
And now young Sebastian de Klerk, one of the Bulls newest additions to the squad, has also found himself learning a lot from the Springbok.
De Klerk said he had enjoyed training alongside the World Cup winners and had been learning a lot, with Le Roux becoming a mentor figure for him.
“It’s wonderful having so many Springboks, and not just the current guys but guys who have played for the Springboks in the past. But, especially the World Cup winners coming back.
“Willie, Canan and Kurt-Lee, you learn a lot from them. It’s nice getting an insight into how they did things at the Boks. It’s lekker to see how they conduct themselves, on and off the field.
“Just Willie’s experience and the way he looks at the game, he’s a very smart rugby player. He gives you so much info on the field. I remember that first week training with him – it felt like I trained with him 100 times just because of how good and clear he communicates.
“You can imagine playing almost 100 tests, the situations he’s been in so many times, he knows what is going to happen if he does this and if I do that. He contributes to a lot of the small things which I think someone who isn’t as experienced might miss.
“He’s seen all the scenarios and he knows how to prep you as an individual, and helps the coaches as well. He just made our team a lot stronger.”
De Klerk believes that playing in the Investec Champions’ Cup makes him a much better player and he has learnt to improve his decision-making on the field. The speedster has scored twice in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship this season already and played six games for his new province.
“I’ve enjoyed the transition, the game is faster playing against internationals every weekend, you really get a chance to compare yourself against the best.
“It helps lift your game automatically and gives you a lot of time to reflect on things you thought you were good enough at, but now see you’re not on par yet.
“My decision making is a lot faster since playing in the URC. There’s also a lot more kicking, with contestables, high balls and chasing. That’s a lot more relevant in European competition.”
“Saracens have plenty of international players and are world class, it’s going to be an absolute fight. We’re going to have to work for every point. We stand a good chance to win, but it’s going to be a challenge against the best out there.”
The Bulls will name their side to face Saracens on Friday.