Sale ace Faf de Klerk on South Africa's radar to face England in June series

SunSport understands that South Africa boss Rassie Erasmus will pick the scrum-half in his new-look Test side to take on England next month.

And after going Tigers hunting in Saturday's Champions Cup shoot-out against Leicester, De Klerk, who swept the board at Sale's end-of-season awards, is hoping to add to his 11 caps.

Springboks boss Erasmus has already spoken to Saracens prop Vincent Koch about playing against England as he looks to re-write the rules over their 30-cap baseline for selecting players abroad.

And De Klerk said: "If I can do it again, it will be awesome for me.

"I will never turn down the chance to play for South Africa. I have so much passion for the Springboks and all the history that comes with it.

"If coach Rassie does pick me then I will be smiling all the time I'm there. But it all comes down to playing well for Sale.

"If I try and do everything on my own here to get in, I will end up looking like a bit of a k***. So I need to do what is best for the club and then hopefully things come through."

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Sale boss Steve Diamond has picked de Klerk in every single Premiership game this season.

Having signed him from Johannesburg's Super Rugby side the Lions last summer, on the advice of back-row Jono Ross, Diamond reckons the 26-year-old could be his best ever buy.

Opening the door for de Klerk to take on England, Diamond said: "If they change their policy to pick from abroad then I would love to see Faf play for South Africa. He is a player who has been fantastic for the Premiership as a whole, not just Sale.

"He is not a conventional scrum half, but he is the heartbeat of the team and he is a great lad who brings an infectious atmosphere to the club on a daily basis. He's probably one of the best signings that I have made."

De Klerk followed in the footsteps of golden oldies Mike Phillips and Peter Stringer when he arrived at the AJ Bell Stadium.

But as those two greats of the game came to Manchester to finish their careers, de Klerk is just getting started.

"I think we are different players, so my job was to never do what they did," he said.

"We are looking to play a running game with attractive rugby. That's what the fans want and we have the players to do it.

"It's a great honour to come up after the 9s that were here – but now is about laying down my own mark. If I can have an influence on outcomes – then that is what you want. To take the club forward and get us in a better position."

Sale face a wounded animal in the Tigers – who have not made the play-offs for the first time in 14 years.

But the Manchester club, who this week had to deny they were signing Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding after they were cleared of rape, are looking to recapture their own glory days having last won the Premiership in 2006 by beating Leicester.

De Klerk added: "All across out team guys are stepping up and making an impact. We want to go up the logs and not just be there one season.

"We want to be competing every single year. This year feels like we are working to go further and from the guys who have been here a while, they feel everything is starting to click into place. We haven't reached our peak yet."

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