Springboks coach Allister Coetzee has hailed Lions pivot Elton Jantjies as a maturing player who is beginning to take responsibility as a leader in the senior national side.
With Handre Pollard, of the Bulls, and Pat Lambie, of the Sharks, unavailable for the three test matches against France due to injuries‚ and Frans Steyn relegated to the bench‚ Jantjies has been given the opportunity at flyhalf and he has not disappointed.
He grabbed his opportunity in the opening test at Loftus last weekend, where he gave a near flawless performance with his kicking and general play to help the Springboks to a deserved and morale-boosting 37-14 win.
“Elton is maturing in many ways‚ in terms of his leadership and managing the game‚” Coetzee said.
“He has a great understanding of how we want to play and managing that balance between kicking‚ running and spotting space. There are crucial guys among the backs who must assist in those options and I think it makes it easier with Elton to choose the right option.
“The big thing for me is that there is a difference with pressure between international rugby and Super Rugby and it seems that he is enjoying this kind of pressure in international rugby.”
Cheetahs centre Francois Venter has linked up with the Springboks as a replacement for the injured Damien de Allende and was at training at the Northwood High School on Monday afternoon.
Venter was already in Durban with the team as part of the SA “A” squad that is going to take on the French Barbarians in a two-match series starting on Friday afternoon at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Venter will be available for the SA “A” team if he is not selected for the Boks’ match-23 for this weekend’s second test at Kings Park.
“When we selected both squads‚ the SA “A” side was always an extension of the Springboks and we will definitely not select players from outside the SA ‘A’ team‚” Coetzee said.