Faf de Klerk, one of the most influential players in the Springboks' return to prominence, believes South Africa will arrive at Twickenham next week energised and emboldened by their exploits in recent months, an upturn kick-started by victory over England in June.

The Boks went on to beat the All Blacks in Wellington and came within seconds of repeating the feat three weeks ago in Pretoria. De Klerk, the Sale halfback, has no doubt the first test win against England in Johannesburg was the trigger point for the revival, one that has enabled the Springboks, under the new leadership of first black captain Siya Kolisi and head coach Rassie Erasmus, to reconnect with the South African public.

"The win at Ellis Park was where it all started and made us believe in ourselves as well as people believe in us," says De Klerk. "There are so many bad things going on in South Africa that when the Boks win, it's almost like there is a bit more hope for the country.

"If we can show that we really care in our performances, putting ourselves out there for our country, bring that hope back, then people's week can be a bit better. We have turned around the way people feel about the Springboks, like the Boks of old."

De Klerk, who misses the Twickenham fixture as it falls outside the World Rugby international window, has been rested for the November series as Erasmus looks to build depth in his squad.

There is no doubt, though, that De Klerk is fundamental to Springbok plans for the World Cup in Japan next year — the motor of the side, a harrying, scurrying figure, hustling the opposition and generating so much of the team's energy. If De Klerk is the human dynamo, then Kolisi has become its totem and conscience.


"Siya's appointment has meant that a lot of people have become interested in South African rugby again," says De Klerk. "He is a real humble guy, not the sort to come in and take over everything or try to fix it all himself. We got off to that good start against England and then things have fallen into place.

"We got that win over the All Blacks in New Zealand but our loss at Loftus Versfeld shows we still have so much more to do. It was one of the highlights of our careers to win in Wellington. No one gave us a chance of beating England in the June series, but that is where we got the belief."

De Klerk's absence, along with other Premiership-based players such as Wasps' Willie le Roux, is an equalising factor, given the heavy injury toll that has befallen England. De Klerk warns, though, the Springboks will be hell-bent on maintaining the form they showed in the Rugby Championship.

"We are 100 per cent committed to keeping that momentum going. There are not that many test matches left for us ahead of the World Cup, so we have to make them count.

"The World Cup is a great goal for all of us. There will be new guys, or less-experienced guys, on both sides at Twickenham, so it will be a chance for them to put down a marker."

- Telegraph Group Ltd