CAPE TOWN - After Western Province’s firing start to their Currie Cup campaign, there will be a few things to watch for when the defending champions take on the Golden Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday.
The Johannesburg-fixture will feature two of the three unbeaten teams in the 2018 competition (the Sharks being the third), and that alone should make it a good one. Then there’s also the kind of rugby we can expect to see from arguably the best two teams this weekend. And, of course, the performances of those players who have stood out so far in the single-round competition should also be a treat. Following Province’s thrashing of the Pumas before their bye, coach John Dobson said that the younger players stood up at Mbombela Stadium. And they really did.
Dobson singled out scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies and lock Ernst van Rhyn after the 57-28 drubbing in Nelspruit, saying that the duo did well against a determined Pumas outfit that just kept coming. And although he has provided cover off the bench for the experienced Jano Vermaak in the first two games, the sparky scrumhalf would have done enough to justify his inclusion had there been a “players to watch” list for Round Five.
Earlier this week, WP assistant coach Dawie Snyman said that Jantjies has done well to make the step-up from the Rugby Challenge (where he played in all nine of their games) to the Currie Cup, while he also praised his command of the “basic” work of a No 9 as well as his ability to inject pace into a game.
“I really rate Herschel as a player,” Snyman said. “He brings speed to the game and he’s got good support lines, so every time we’re in a position to make a linebreak he’s on the inside and quick to the ball. Every time he’s been on the field I think he’s been able to speed it up a little more and get us into good positions.
“His basics are solid. He’s got a great pass and the kicking game under pressure is something he hasn’t been exposed to at this level, but we’re working on it constantly and we want to make sure he’s an all-rounded player.”
So, while there’s a number of players in both sides whose performances have certainly warranted anticipation ... you know, the Hacjivah Dayimanis, the Sergeal Petersens, and so on ... make sure to keep an eye on Herschel Jantjies as well.
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