Boks need Jantjies to step up

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

Salta - Allister Coetzee faces his first away Test as Springbok coach in Argentina on Saturday with the form of flyhalf Elton Jantjies a major concern.

The 26-year-old playmaker from Super Rugby runners-up the Lions has been unable to replicate his outstanding form at international level.

Jantjies fluffed three of nine kicks at goal last weekend in a lacklustre performance as the Springboks snatched a lucky 30-23 home victory over the Pumas in their Rugby Championship opener.

Coetzee is so concerned with the form of his playmaker ahead of the return match in Salta that he has promoted veteran Morne Steyn to the bench in place of centre Juan de Jongh.

Steyn kicked the decisive penalty when the Springboks pipped the Pumas 33-31 at Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena in the north-western city two seasons ago.

The coach, who succeeded Heyneke Meyer in April and has achieved three unconvincing home wins over Ireland and Argentina in four Tests, has avoided publicly criticising Jantjies.

But he clearly had the flyhalf in mind when he said after the scare in Nelspruit last weekend that "our decision-making regarding when to run and when to kick is not spot-on".

After naming his squad in Buenos Aires, Coetzee pleaded with critics to give Jantjies time, stressing that the flyhalf will this weekend be making only his seventh Test appearance.

"You have to give Elton opportunities and support," stressed the coach. "He is learning and, hopefully, there will be progress this weekend."

Other Springboks who need to improve include centres Lionel Mapoe and Damian de Allende as well as flank Francois Louw.

Mapoe has yet to score this season and lost possession after crossing the tryline last weekend, while De Allende is a pale shadow of the player who went to the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England.

South African pundits are puzzled by the continuous faith Coetzee shows in Louw, believing in-form Lion Jaco Kriel should be the starting openside flank.

While South Africa made one injury-enforced change to their starting line-up with tighthead prop Vincent Koch replacing Julian Redelinghuys, Argentina kept faith with the starting XV of last weekend.

"We beleve we can beat the Springboks at home," said skipper and hooker Agustin Creevy. "We now enter matches expecting to win.

"If we do the simple things well, we can succeed. We made some mistakes at crucial times last weekend."

Argentina have won just one of 23 Tests against South Africa, but came heart-breakingly close in three home Rugby Championship encounters.

The Pumas drew the first 16-16, lost the second by five points and the third by two.



15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Matías Orlando, 12 Juan Martín Hernández, 11 Manuel Montero, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martín Landajo, 8 Facundo Isa, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 4 Matías Alemanno, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustín Creevy (c), 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro

Substitutes: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Felipe Arregui, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Javier Ortega Desio, 21 Tomas Cubelli, 22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 23 Lucas González Amorosino

South Africa

15 Johan Goosen, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Jaco Kriel, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Morne Steyn, 23, Jesse Kriel

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