Superhero Jantjies leads exciting Lions
JOHANNESBURG – Seasoned Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies has jumped to the front of the queue to lead the franchise in this year’s Super Rugby competition after being named team leader for this weekend’s Superhero Sunday clash with the Bulls at FNB Stadium.
The World Cup winning squad member will lead an exciting side against the Bulls in what will be the teams’ final and biggest warm-up game ahead of the start of this year’s Super Rugby competition.
Jantjies, appears to have his nose ahead of the likes of Ross Cronje, Dylan Smith, Marvin Orie in the race to be Lions captain this year.
New Lions boss Ivan van Rooyen said yesterday he would make an official announcement on Monday regarding the team captaincy. Jantjies said it was a privilege to be able to lead the side this week.
Both men said there were a few boxes they wanted ticked against the Bulls. “It’s an opportunity for us to test our systems and see where we are conditioning-wise,” said Van Rooyen, while Jantjies added: “The match gives us a chance to test our mentality before the start of the season, but to also see where we are physically, as well as how our attack and defence is shaping up.”
Van Rooyen hasn’t hesitated to include several of his new recruits, among them former Bulls players, scrumhalf Andre Warner, centre Dan Kriel, who most recently played for the Stormers, as well as wing Jamba Ulengo, in his team for this weekend’s match.
Also, flank Roelof Smit, who left the Bulls late last year, will play off the bench. Other former Bulls players in the Lions team are lock Orie, flank Marnus Schoeman, wing Courtnall Skosan and centre Duncan Matthews.
Exciting young playmaker Tiaan Swanepoel will play fullback this week. “He’s a player with a great work ethic and he’s got a good CV so until Andries Coetzee returns (from Japan) he’s going to get his chance,” said Van Rooyen.
Some of the Lions players who weren’t considered for action this weekend because of injury include Cronje, Hacjivah Dayimani and Gianni Lombard. Veteran prop Jannie du Plessis, who has joined the Lions after spending four years with Montpellier, will play, but another Bok veteran, Willem Alberts, must still pass his medicals before he gets some action.
Meanwhile, all three of the Bulls’ new big-name signings for the 2020 Super Rugby competition have been named in the starting team for their match with the Lions at FNB Stadium.
Former Springboks and Bulls stars, flyhalf Morne Steyn and lock Juandre Kruger, as well as former Lions captain and Scotland international, Josh Strauss, will feature in the pre-season hit-out against the Bulls’ neighbours from Joburg.@jacq_west