JOHANNESBURG – He’s not everyone’s idea of a world-class flyhalf.
In fact, there are even those who say he shouldn’t be playing Super Rugby – but the records speak for themselves: Elton Jantjies is among the best in the business.
And he’s set to join an elite group of men on Saturday should he manage to register four points in the round three Super Rugby match against the Bulls at Ellis Park. Kickoff is 3pm.
Jantjies is four points shy of hitting the 1 000 points mark in Super Rugby, a feat which if achieved will make him just the fifth man in the competition’s history to reach the milestone.
The others to hit 1 000 points in the competition are Dan Carter (1 708), Morne Steyn (1 449), Beauden Barrett (1 120) and Stirling Mortlock (1 036).
The 28-year-old Jantjies, who made his Super Rugby debut in 2011, has been called “the general” by his coach Swys de Bruin, who rates him highly.
“He is a true professional. He is resilient. He gets a lot of criticism, but he always fights back. He is a fighter and a real team man,” said De Bruin about his No 10 last year.
Jantjies has earned over 100 Super Rugby caps and 32 Test caps for the Boks in his career so far.
He has also played an instrumental role in helping the Lions reach three consecutive Super Rugby finals.
Former Lions coach Johan Ackermann has also only ever praised his No 10, who he said had the skills and temperament to be one of the world’s leading flyhalves.
“I’ve been asked the question so many times; has he got BMT, has he got the skills? The answer is, he’s got everything. If you give him the freedom to play and the players around him understand him, he can become like Beauden Barrett,” Ackermann said about Jantjies in 2017, when he compared him to the Hurricanes and All Blacks flyhalf, considered by many as the game’s best No 10.
FACT FILE: JANTJIES TO PASS 1000 @SuperRugby points@LionsRugbyCo fly-half Elton Jantjies is set to become just the fifth player in the history of the competition to score 1,000 points.— Super Rugby (@SuperRugby) February 28, 2019
Read more: https://t.co/Hm9jEwpqbj pic.twitter.com/9lreboOo4r
“Barrett’s allowed to make his own decisions, with his cross-field kicks, his chip kicks... he has the freedom to play, and no one is on his case.
“Elton can play at that level too and be the same, but he needs the freedom.”
At the Lions, Jantjies is allowed to run the show, and fans will hope their “general” hits top gear on Saturday when the Bulls visit Ellis Park.
They’ll also hope he’s able to reach the 1 000-point milestone, and become one of Super Rugby’s all-time greats.@jacq_west