The Lions have taken an holistic view on the erratic goal-kicking performance of flyhalf Elton Jantjies in last weekend’s narrow Super Rugby quarterfinal win over the Sharks at Ellis Park.
In his record 84th appearance, Jantjies was well off his best, missing four of his six kicks at goal and it influenced his general performance to such an extent that he was replaced in the 62nd minute by fullback Sylvian Mahuza.
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Coach Johan Ackermann was diplomatic about this performance but he also highlighted the general kicking of other players not meeting the normal high standards until the massive 78thminute match-winning eff ort by wing Ruan Combrinck.
“Our kicking in general wasn’t good on the day – our line-kicking as well as our goal-kicking – and the one that had to go over did, so all the credit to Commies,” said Ackermann ahead of their home semifinal date with defending champions the Hurricanes this weekend.
In a repeat of last year’s final, the Hurricanes boast match-winning kickers this weekend like the Barrett brothers, flyhalf Beauden and centre Jordie, as well as scrumhalf and captain TJ Perenara.
The Lions can wave a spot in the final goodbye if they repeat their poor effort from last weekend in general.
It could be expected that the Hurricanes will follow the Sharks’ blueprint by targeting Jantjies to cut off the fl ow of the Lions back division.
“We knew it was going to be tough, we knew they were going to put pressure on the breakdown and that they were going to be much more physical than the previous week,” said Ackermann.
Ackermann said they felt that if they could just score they could’ve put some “water on to the fire” and the fact that it went the other way kept the Sharks confident and kept them going.
“When we scored those two quick tries we saw there was a bit of doubt, but they showed a lot of fight to go and score under the posts which again put us under pressure,” he said.