BACK IN FORM: Faf de Klerk. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Not the biggest player in the world, Springbok scrumhalf Faf de Klerk is standing tall in England.

Having joined the Sale Sharks at the start of the season, the 26-year-old took to the UK game like a duck to water.

So much so, that De Klerk was nominated as one of five candidates for the English Player of the Season award.

And with South African scrumhalves currently not putting up their hand for Bok selection, ex-Boks Werner Swanepoel and Ashwin Willemse believe coach Rassie Erasmus should look no further than De Klerk.

The last of De Klerk’s 11 Tests were played on the Springboks’ end-of-year tour in 2016 after his game went off the boil.

Before leaving for England, De Klerk was also benched by former Lions coach Johan Ackermann, with Ross Cronje taking his place at franchise level as well as international level.

COMPETITION: Ross Cronje has taken De Klerk's place in SA. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

But with Cronje only coming back from injury and the South African Rugby Union changing their eligibility rules with regards to overseas players, De Klerk is once again in the Bok frame.

Swanepoel, who played 20 Tests for the Boks at scrumhalf, tells SupeRugby: “There is definitely a gap for a No.9 to put up his hand.

“Currently no one’s doing that and we know Faf is a player with X-factor that not a lot of current scrumhalves have.

“Being nominated for that award in his first season [overseas] is an achievement and I think Rassie should look at him.”

Willemse adds: “The big question is if Faf can incorporate what he’s learned over there in the national team.”

Another overseas option for the Springboks would be to go with Northampton Saints scrumhalf Cobus Reinach.

Locally, Erasmus’ options are thin, with Sharks scrumhalf Louis Schreuder being the only Springbok currently playing Super Rugby in this position.

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