Faf de Klerk sends the ball back during the third Test match between South Africa and Ireland at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/SHAUN ROY
Faf de Klerk sends the ball back during the third Test match between South Africa and Ireland at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/SHAUN ROY

Springbok and Lions scrumhalf Faf de Klerk is the latest high-profile South African player to quit the country and take up a contract in the northern hemisphere.

On Monday English club side Sale Sharks claimed that they had signed the lively halfback on a three-year deal as part of their ambitious plans to become a top club in the English Premier League.

Director of rugby Steve Diamond said De Klerk‚ who has 11 Bok caps‚ was a key player in their push to challenge the country’s elite teams in the coming seasons.

But the Golden Lions Rugby Union would not confirm the move on Monday.

Lions Rugby Company CE Rudolf Straeuli said: "Negotiations are under way and I have not signed anything regarding the offer to De Klerk.

"The team is focused on their third game on tour and an official announcement will only be made once they are back."

However, Sale confirmed the move, although they did not specify when De Klerk would join the club.

"I am made up that Faf has decided to join us next season‚" said Diamond‚ which indicates that there is a verbal‚ but not written agreement‚ in place.

"He is tenacious with a fantastic work rate — he dictates the tempo and direction of the game and I think he will fit in well both with our style of play‚ and with a young‚ ambitious squad.

"He’s an unbelievable ball carrier‚ has a solid kicking game and he is exciting around the pitch.

"He sees the weakness in his opposition and can leverage this to his advantage. He’s young but has massive experience and this will be crucial in helping us to build on the foundations we have put in place this year.

"Faf has the vision to see where the club is heading and wants to be part of it.

"This signing as well as the signings of Josh Strauss and Jono Ross will help us collectively achieve our desire to be a top of the table team.

"I’m sure there will be a lot of excitement in the AJ Bell Stadium come our first home game of next season."

TMG Digital

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