Cape Town - Springbok assistant coach Brendan Venter has questioned the Lions’ decision to substitute flyhalf Elton Jantjies during last weekend’s Super Rugby quarter-final win over the Sharks.
Jantjies misses four kicks at goal and his general play was also substandard before he was substituted in the 62nd minute of the match at Ellis Park.
Wing Ruan Combrinck saved the day for the Lions when he slotted a 55m penalty late in the game to help his side to a 23-21 win.
Jantjies has had a stellar season before the Sharks game and Venter was not happy to see him leave the field.
“The aspect that worries me is that they substituted Elton Jantjies against the Sharks. I don't understand the rationale behind the call to pull him from the field and replace him with fullback Andries Coetzee. Just like players make mistakes, coaches are prone to strange decisions under pressure and to commit errors. Jantjies has played very well for the Lions over a prolonged period,” Venter wrote via a column for the TimesLIVE website.
“I would like to know if the coaches can rebuild their relationship with Jantjies, which was damaged by taking him off in the second half. The Jantjies situation is a side issue the Lions will have to address this week. It's not something that can be swept under the carpet, because much of the Lions' success has been built around trust and believing in each other.”
Lions coach Johan Ackermann kept faith in Jantjies when he named his side for this Saturday’s semi-final against the Hurricanes in Johannesburg (kick-off 14:30).
Ackermann on Thursday named an unchanged 23-man squad.
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Jaco Kriel (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen
Substitutes: 16 Akker vd Merwe, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Faf de Klerk, 22 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 23 Sylvian Mahuza
15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Wes Goosen, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Brad Shields, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Mark Abbott, 3 Jeff To'omaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (captain), 1 Ben May
Substitutes: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Loni Uhila, 19 Reed Prinsep, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Otere Black, 23 Julian Savea