DURBAN – A quick glance down the list of out-and-out flyhalves in the current Bok set up would see a short roster being drawn up. Elton Jantjies is the only man who is a flyhalf before any other position, and although that seems to be no problem as it stands, with the Lions pivot running the show with aplomb, coach Allister Coetzee is still looking to bolster this key position.
Jantjies was the “go to” man last year, as well as again being the first choice for 2017, under similar circumstances. Pat Lambie opened up last year’s incoming series at No 10 against Ireland, before being knocked out cold thanks to CJ Stander’s hip. This left the door open for Jantjies to make his mark, which he did not really do.
Questions were asked about Super Rugby's form flyhalf’s ability to transition to Test rugby after a stuttery Bok season in 2016, and with Handre Pollard and Lambie again injured when June rolled around this year, it was Jantjies who the mantle fell upon.
However, the response from the mercurial flyhalf has been much improved as he has been able to emulate his Super Rugby form to the Test arena. But, Jantjies does remains the only fully fledged flyhalf in the team, leaving the Boks very exposed should he be injured.
“I don’t focus on being the only stand-alone flyhalf in the team,” Jantjies said after the Test in Durban.
“For me it is much more process driven and just making sure my game management as a flyhalf, or a leader, in the team is on par.
“Then it is just making sure I am doing my job well and inspiring my teammates, and making sure I am making the right decisions at the right time.”
Coetzee is hopeful that Pollard, who was a late draft into the SA ‘A’ side, will get some national representative gametime this week on his return from injury, and hopefully do enough to warrant an immediate segway into the Bok team ahead of the rugby Championship.
Lambie, in the meantime, is being left well alone by the Boks as he continues to recover from another concussion.
He is on another lengthy “return to play” protocol, and Coetzee has stated that there is no reason to burden the Sharks man with Bok responsibilities at this stage.