Uncertainty over Jantjies’ availability

Elton Jantjies (Gallo Images)
Elton Jantjies (Gallo Images)

Allister Coetzee will decide whether he will consider Elton Jantjies for Saturday’s Rugby Championship Test against the Wallabies in Brisbane.

The Springbok camp yesterday said the flyhalf was “very close to ready”.

There is uncertainty over his availability after he suffered a thigh injury in last Saturday’s Test against Argentina in Salta.

If Jantjies has not fully recovered, the Bok coach will have to choose between the experienced Morné Steyn and Johan Goosen.

Goosen has so far been picked as the first choice fullback in the series, while Steyn replaced the injured Jantjies last week.

With the Boks’ tactical and place kicking being a weak point during the performance in the series so far, it would be no surprise if the No 10 jersey was given to Steyn.

The Boks have a disappointing success figure of 67% (26 out of 39) in place kicking in the series. If they stand any chance of beating the Wallabies or the All Blacks, this figure will have to improve drastically.

This is one aspect of their game that will have to receive a lot of attention.

The Boks’ tactical kicking hasn’t been up to test standard since the first test series against the Irish.

Good tactical kicking is precisely cited as a major reason the All Blacks are ahead of everyone else.

A success figure of 90.9% with their defence also further distinguishes the Kiwis from the Boks (83.2%), Argentina (79.9%) and the Wallabies (78.8%).

The 67 defenders who have been beaten by the All Blacks in the series so far are, according to stuff.co.nz, also better than the Boks (41), Argentina (40) and Wallabies (23).

However, the Boks’ lineout success of 95.5% is the best in the series and a lot better than Argentina’s 91.7%.

With such an impressive success rate, it’s surprising that the Boks aren’t using this as a platform to attack more often.

When he looks at the statistics this week, Coetzee will have to consider whether the Boks will again resort to their characteristic rolling maul for variation. The Boks have, surprisingly, not used it all during the series.

Coetzee doesn’t just have a tough choice to make in respect of his flyhalf – he will also have to find a replacement for Ruan Combrinck after he injured his leg in Salta.

He will miss the rest of the series. Lwazi Mvovo should be picked in his place, although Francois Hougaard, Jesse Kriel and even Lionel Mapoe could also be considered.

Juan de Jongh, who is competing with Mapoe for the No 13 jersey, will speak to the media next week, an indication that he may be included in the squad.

Hougaard’s inclusion may also depend on what Coetzee decides about his impact bench.

If he picks six forwards and only two backs, there is an excellent chance that Hougaard will be picked.

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