Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies came under a lot of criticism after his dismal kicking display in the Super Rugby quarterfinal against the Sharks at Ellis Park last weekend.
He spurned 10 points by missing two penalties and two conversions, in the end converting just two of his six attempts.
But coach Johan Ackermann believes the criticism directed at Jantjies has been “unfair” and that he will return to his best in Saturday’s home semifinal against the Hurricanes.
“He has been exceptional the whole year and he was a big reason why we are in this playoffs. I trust Elton will prepare as well as possible, mentally and physically to be ready,” said Ackermann on Thursday.
“Every player is mature enough to realise where he needs to improve and the area of the game where he needs to be in control of.”
Ackermann hinted that it wasn’t even necessary to speak to Jantjies as he’s a seasoned campaigner who’s very hard on himself.
In other words: Elton’s going to sort it out on his own.
“A lot of players made mistakes. Elton’s were more obvious because he is the goalkicker but we didn’t highlight him or even look back at last weekend’s game,” said Ackermann.
“We have a lot faith in Elton, we’ve always had and we always thought he is good enough to play at any level.”
Ackermann however stressed Jantjies is only as good as the platform the rest of the team gives him.
“It’s up to the team, if we defended better or didn’t give away the yellow card or whatever, if our discipline was good, we wouldn’t have been in that situation,” he said.
“Or even if we scored a try in those first 10 minutes it would’ve been a different game. We can’t and we won’t blame it on one person. It’s unfair.”