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Six Sharks involved in British & Irish Lions Summer Tour

Six Sharks involved in British & Irish Lions Summer Tour

This summer, the British and Irish Lions will play an incredible eight-match tour in South Africa, including a three-test series against a World Cup winning Springbok squad that includes five Sale Sharks players.

Tom Curry is the sole representative for Sale Sharks in the British and Irish Lions squad but will be the only Premiership player to star against his club-mates on this summer’s tour after Rassie Erasmus’ squad selection on Saturday.

The World Cup winning Director of Rugby has named five Sale Sharks stars amongst his squad of 45 with Jean-Luc and Daniel du Preez the most notable inclusions in a highly experienced South Africa squad.

The twins have a combined seventeen caps between them and after dominating the Gallagher Premiership since joining Sale in 2019, have earned their right to represent their country again after consistently impressing the Springbok selectors.

Tom Curry’s selection for the Lions is arguably the pinnacle of the flanker’s rapid rise to world rugby stardom and speaking about his inclusion in the 2021 squad, the 22-year-old said he was honoured, but admitted he still hasn’t processed the news properly.

He said: “I never take things for granted so It was definitely a shock to be named as a Lion. It was possibly the most stressful morning of my life, I was on edge during those B’s and C’s! It’s a really exciting time for everyone at the club, myself and the South African boys. A Lions tour to South Africa only happens once every eight years so it’s huge for them too and we can’t wait to get out there.”

Warren Gatland’s Lions kick off their summer fixtures against Japan at Murrayfield at the end of June before jetting off to South Africa where they will play five warm-up matches against provincial sides followed by three tests against the world champion Springboks.

Lions fixtures

Pre-tour warm-up games:

Sat 26th June – v Japan – Kick-off TBC

 Tour warm-up games:

Sat 3rd July – v Emirates Lions – Kick-off 17:00 BST

Wed 7th July – v Cell-C Sharks – Kick-off 19:00 BST

Sat 10th July – v Blue Bulls – Kick-off – 17:00 BST

Wed 14th July – v South Africa A – Kick-off 19:00 BST

Sat 17th July – v DHL Stormers – Kick-off 17:00 BST

Test matches:

Sat 24th July – v Springboks – Kick-off 17:00 BST

Sat 31st July – v Springboks – Kick-off 17:00 BST

Sat 7th Aug – v Springboks – Kick-off 17:00 BST

 

Our Springboks

Faf de Klerk 

Springbok scrum-half Faf de Klerk joined Sale Sharks on a three year contract from Super Rugby side Golden Lions at the start of the 2017-18 Premiership Rugby season.

In his first season at the club, the 29 year old made 25 appearances and scored 97 points and that form led to a call-up to the South Africa squad for the 2018 summer home test series against England.

After three exceptional performances against England, Faf appeared for his country in the Rugby Championship in November 2018, where the South Africans gained a notable victory over the All Blacks in New Zealand.

Faf’s consistency and form for club and country over the 2017-18 season eventually led to a nomination for World Player of the Year, with the young scrum-half losing out to Johnny Sexton at the final hurdle.

Faf was selected as the starting scrum-half for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan and led the Springboks to their third World Cup victory beating England and Sharks team-mates Tom Curry and Mark Wilson in the final.

Prior to the World Cup, the talismanic playmaker signed a contract to keep him at the club until 2023.

Speaking about Faf, fellow Springbok Rohan Janse van Rensburg said: “With Faf every game is different, and he is a pocket rocket and a special player.

“He has the ability and vision to see things when it comes to kick pressure and has a real feel for situations.

“Mike Forshaw gives Faf the freedom to do that – get out of the line and put the opposition under pressure. He has that freedom to do that whenever he wants and when it works out it is lovely for us.”

Read more about Faf here

Lood de Jager

Springbok superstar Lood de Jager joined Sharks on a three-year deal after playing a key role in his country’s 2019 Rugby World Cup win.

The 28-year-old lock started his career with the Toyota Cheetahs and quickly burst into the spotlight after a stellar first season.

The 6ft 9in, 125kg powerhouse went on to make 40 Super Rugby appearances for the Bloemfontein based franchise and was rewarded for his outstanding form in 2015, winning the prestigious SA Rugby Player of the Year award.

In 2016, Lood made the switch to Pretoria, signing for the Vodacom Bulls ahead of the 2017 Super Rugby season. He was awarded the captaincy ahead of the 2019 season.

Known in Super Rugby for his physical presence, Lood was selected for the national side in May 2014, at just 21 years old and has since gone on to make 45 appearances for the Springboks.

Sharks announced the signing of Lood in April 2019, but his debut was delayed after he suffered a dislocated shoulder just 21 minutes into the World Cup final.

Speaking after signing his contract with Sharks, Lood said: “Firstly it is a great honour for me to join Sale Sharks, they are a club with great tradition and really high ambitions, and they are building something really special.

“It’s exciting to be a part of and I’m looking forward to joining up with the guys in Manchester later in the year.”

Lood made his first appearance in a Sale shirt in March, 2020. And it was worth the wait as Sharks hit the top of the Premiership with a 39-0 win over London Irish. Lood made six carries and four tackles after coming on as a replacement with 25 minutes remaining.

Lood made a total of six Gallagher Premiership appearances before the end of the season, followed by a further five in the 20/21 campaign, before a freak training ground injury left him needing surgery on a broken leg and damage to his knee.

Undeterred, Lood battled his way back to fitness and was one of five Sale Sharks players to be named in the Springbok squad for the 2021 series against the British and Irish Lions.

Read more about Lood here

Jean-Luc du Preez

Versatile forward Jean-Luc du Preez joined Sale Sharks on a permanent deal in 2019 along with twin brother Dan, after impressing on an initial three month loan contract.

The twins arrived in Manchester from Durban-based Super Rugby side Cell C Sharks, where they had played alongside older brother – and now Sale teammate – Rob.

Jean-Luc has won 13 international caps since making his Springbok debut as a replacement against Wales, in Cardiff, in 2016.

Dan made his debut a year later and, in doing so, made history. The twins’ dad Robert played seven tests for South Africa and when Dan took the field against France, it was the first time in South African rugby that two sons of a Springbok had played Test rugby.

And two sons became three the following year when fly-half Rob made his international debut as a replacement.

In November 2018 Jean-Luc signed a short-term deal with Sale Sharks as injury cover, making six appearances in total for the club and scoring one try before returning to Durban in January.

In July 2019, Sale Sharks confirmed that Jean-Luc and Dan had signed permanent deals.

In June 2021 Jean-Luc was one of five Sale Sharks players to be named in the Springbok squad for the series against the British and Irish Lions.

Speaking after the announcement of the squad, South Africa’s Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus said: The nice thing about the Sale set-up is there are a lot of South African guys who have played and been in the mix.

“Now Jean-Luc and his brother Dan, as well as Coenie are also in the mix.

“It hasn’t always been a lot, but these are guys we think that are in sync, guys we have access to, guys that play regularly with Faf [de Klerk].

“When guys are playing a game plan and you have to rely on a nine who in the Springboks, let’s say with Jean-Luc, Dan and Coenie, they are three new guys but they must jump together in the line-out and scrum together and then in general play they must mix with Faf.”

Read more about Jean-Luc here

Daniel du Preez

Giant South African forward Dan du Preez joined his twin brother Jean-Luc at the AJ Bell when he signed a permanent deal with Sale Sharks in July, 2019.

The 25 year old joined from Durban-based Super Rugby side Cell C Sharks, where he had played alongside Jean-Luc and older brother – and now Sale teammate – Rob.

Jean-Luc and fly-half Rob had both spent time on loan at Sale ahead of signing permanent deals, but Dan – who has played four Tests for the Springboks – joined the club for the first time.

Speaking at the time, Dan said: “I’ve heard some really good things about the club from Rob and Jean-Luc and can’t wait to link up with Sale and play some rugby in the Gallagher Premiership with my brothers.”

Dan, who is equally adept at playing in the second-row as he is at number 8, made his debut for the Springboks in 2017 – the year after Jean-Luc – and in doing so made history.

The twins’ dad Robert played seven tests for South Africa and when Dan took the field against France, it was the first time in South African rugby that two sons of a Springbok had played Test rugby.

And two sons became three the following year when fly-half Rob made his international debut as a replacement.

In June 2021 Dan was one of five Sale Sharks players to be named in the Springbok squad for the series against the British and Irish Lions.

Speaking after the announcement of the squad, South Africa’s Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus said: The nice thing about the Sale set-up is there are a lot of South African guys who have played and been in the mix.

“Now Jean-Luc and his brother Dan, as well as Coenie are also in the mix.

“It hasn’t always been a lot, but these are guys we think that are in sync, guys we have access to, guys that play regularly with Faf [de Klerk].

“When guys are playing a game plan and you have to rely on a nine who in the Springboks, let’s say with Jean-Luc, Dan and Coenie, they are three new guys but they must jump together in the line-out and scrum together and then in general play they must mix with Faf.”

Read more about Dan here

Coenie Oosthuizen

Prop Coenie Oosthuizen joined Sale Sharks on a three year contract in May 2019 from Durban-based Super Rugby side Cell C Sharks.

The 32 year old, who can play on either side of the scrum, has gone onto become a fixture in the Sale front row, alongside fellow South African Akker van der Merwe.

Coenie made his debut for the Springboks in 2012 and has since won 30 international caps. However, his last appearance for his country came against Ireland in 2017, when he suffered a serious knee injury.

After his return to action ten months later, he said: “As a rugby player you get that opportunity every day to run into something and let a little bit of frustration out, but when you’re injured it’s a difficult thing to get past when you’re at home doing nothing. Keeping your mind busy is very important. Working in the gym has been tough … I’ve been pushed to hell and back.

“Getting back on the field, I was so nervous. It wasn’t about the game, it was about getting onto the field and making that first hit and not thinking about my knee.”

In June 2021 Coenie was one of five Sale Sharks players to be named in the Springbok squad for the series against the British and Irish Lions.

Speaking after the announcement of the squad, South Africa’s Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus said: The nice thing about the Sale set-up is there are a lot of South African guys who have played and been in the mix.

“Now Jean-Luc and his brother Dan, as well as Coenie are also in the mix.

“It hasn’t always been a lot, but these are guys we think that are in sync, guys we have access to, guys that play regularly with Faf [de Klerk].

“When guys are playing a game plan and you have to rely on a nine who in the Springboks, let’s say with Jean-Luc, Dan and Coenie, they are three new guys but they must jump together in the line-out and scrum together and then in general play they must mix with Faf.”

Read more about Coenie here

 

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Six Sharks involved in British & Irish Lions Summer Tour
Six Sharks involved in British & Irish Lions Summer Tour
Six Sharks involved in British & Irish Lions Summer Tour