09 Oct 2020
In an interview with MyPlayers Magazine, FAF DE KLERK explains how he and his girlfriend, Miné van Niekerk, made their long-distance relationship work.
When you signed with the Sale Sharks, you and Miné didn’t see each other for long stretches.
Yes, Miné is a pharmacist, and her work responsibilities made it difficult for her to come with me. But she’s been with me in England since January and at the end of the season we will both go back to South Africa. Before this, Miné would come and visit me when time allowed.
How did you keep the spark alive while you were on different continents?
Obviously, we spoke a lot, either by phone or FaceTime. But I think the important thing for us was to speak about any and everything. Small things, bigger stuff happening in our lives, and also stuff that bothered us. When you don’t speak often enough or openly enough, things start simmering below the surface, and when a couple allows that to happen, a relationship can turn sour very quickly.
Would you encourage players to enter into long-distance relationships?
My best advice would be not to! No, I’m only joking. Look, it’s not easy. Call often, FaceTime when possible, talk about everything and ask questions ... That is how you stay in sync with each other and how you overcome the physical distance.
How did having Miné in Japan during the latter stages of the World Cup enhance the experience?
It was unbelievable! It meant a lot having her there with me – not just for the sake of creating shared memories, but also because she took my mind off rugby at times when I really just needed to step back and regain perspective.
Most importantly, does Miné approve of your budgie smuggler?
Oh, she loves it! Miné appreciates a good joke, and she knows me well. Me wearing only the budgie smuggler after the World Cup final was me just being me. And Miné loves me for who I am.
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