Media noted that De Klerk – one of the key players in delivering the kicking plan of the team – had been the subject of much commentary and criticism, especially in social media.
“Players always say they try and stay away from it, but it’s impossible not to see what is being put out there,” said the Springbok scrumhalf.
“Some of the stuff is really funny, and I really enjoy some of the stuff that people come up, but some guys also get a bit personal.
“But people love the Springboks and they are very invested in the team and if they see something go wrong, or if they’re not agreeing with it [gameplan], they let us know.
“It’s not because they’re negative; it’s because they’re very invested and we appreciate that as players in that we know we have got a great support behind us.
“At the end of the day, when we win they are going to be happy that we got the job done.
“But we know in the camp what works for us and what doesn’t, and we try and listen to the coaching staff and the players around us – that’s the main thing.
“If you get caught up in that stuff, you’re losing focus on what you need to do.”
One view on social media is that the Boks’ kicking strategy gifts possession to the opposition. However, the Springboks have conceded only nine tries in 10 matches this season, while scoring 49 themselves; a fair return from “kicking away possession”.
“We do kick a lot but we try and read the game and we try and get momentum,” said De Klerk.
“So, if you look at this weekend, we did kick a lot in the air and Japan really managed to contain our aerial battle.
“But if you look further after that we managed to get a very positive outcome from so much territorial gain on them with our defence. When we kicked, they may have gained possession but very rarely managed to do anything with it.”
De Klerk noted that the Springboks would face a team deploying their own distinct kicking strategy against Wales in Sunday’s Rugby World Cup semi-final.
“It’s going to be a very different game this weekend,” he said.
“I don’t think we’re going to have the same threat as that. It’s all about seeing space and I think our wings have come so far in the past two years.
“They are really competing well in the air. If we can do that again this weekend and get a few balls back in the air against their very good wingers – where it’s going to be a massive battle in the air – it’d be good.
“It’s going to be up to nine, 10 and 15 to decide what style of kick to use and if it’s going to be off me, 10 or 15. That’s going to be up the drivers in the side. We don’t always go out with a set plan of me kicking. We read the game and listen a lot to what Handré (Pollard) is telling me.”
Mzwandile Stick, assistant coach, agreed: “We’re expecting a tough battle – most especially with the Welsh kicking game,” he said.
“They have got a solid kicking game behind their plan. They have four top class players when it comes to the boot. (Gareth) Davies at nine – who has got a got distance under his boot – and if you also look at the back with a guys like (Liam) Williams and (Dan) Biggar who have a lot of experience.
“They are a very territory driven team. They always suffocate teams by not allowing them into their half.”
De Klerk added: “It’s going to be a different struggle against Wales. They’re one of the teams that kicks the most and they back their defence.
“For us it’s first of all to handle their territorial kicking pressure and if we get an opportunity to break down their defence. But they do so well because their system is amazing.
“There’ll be very few opportunities for us to get into their half and into their 22 and we need to get points from those visits.
“If we don’t, we’re going to struggle in this game. It’s going to come down to three or four moments where they give us a chance through someone slipping up or getting a penalty advantage and we’re going to have to use that advantage with everything we have.”