Form, not just class, should be the decider

2012-09-01 19:58

It was a blunder to pick Goosen over Jantjies

One has to feel for Elton Jantjies.

He is in a very painful position and it can only be detrimental for him.

No, I am not his praise singer, but what more must he do to convince Heyneke Meyer that he can be trusted with the number-10 jersey?

Did he not step up and produce the goods in a struggling Lions side?

Put any other flyhalf in his position in the Lions side and one would have seen how that team’s poor performance would have had a direct bearing on his personal performance.

I admit Johan Goosen is an exceptional talent who can only blossom into a beast of a flyhalf for the Boks.

In the all-round stakes, he shades Jantjies narrowly, but as the form flyhalf with game time under his belt, Jantjies deserved the call up.

I first watched Goosen against Selborne College in East London in 2009 and, in atrocious conditions, he pulled apart what was Border’s best schoolboy First XV in a masterly display that left me wondering how much better the kid could get.

Later on at Craven Week, in drier conditions, he showed his full repertoire as Free State stumbled at the final hurdle.

I never had the opportunity to watch Jantjies excel at Florida, but both are players who are living up to their schoolboy potential.

I get the feeling Heyneke Meyer cannot bring himself to trust Jantjies with the Bok flyhalf jersey and it is a trend seen at South Africa’s major rugby schools, where black players are often in the 11, 14 or 15 jumpers; but not in key decision-making positions.

If Jantjies was white and displaying the same kind of form, would he still be languishing in Johannesburg or would he be on a flight to Perth?

The latter would apply.

As skilled as Goosen is, would he have the inside lane so fresh from injury if he shared Jantjies’ skin tone?
I don’t think so.

Goosen has missed a third of the local rugby season and even his coach Naka Drotske voiced his displeasure at losing Goosen so early after his return from injury.

This is not a race issue, but a performance one, and, on performance, Jantjies deserves to be in Australia.

Form may be temporary, with class having permanency; but form, not class, should have been the deciding factor here.

In due course we will see Goosen’s class coming through but Jantjies has been dealt a harsh hand.

» Follow me on Twitter @kaymorizm

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