Heinz Schenk
2 minute read
28 Jun 2018
2:05 pm

‘There’s no bigger fighter than Elton Jantjies’

Heinz Schenk

Lions coach Swys de Bruin once again defends his under-fire flyhalf wholeheartedly ahead of a crunch Super Rugby derby in Durban.

Elton Jantjies. Photo: Gallo Images.

Outside opinion has it that Elton Jantjies’ goose is possibly cooked as an international flyhalf but you won’t find a bigger cheerleader for him than Swys de Bruin.

The Lions coach on Thursday steadfastly backed his experienced pivot to come good again this weekend against the Sharks after having to endure intense criticism over a poor performance for the Springboks against England at Newlands last week.

“I’m glad this issue is being raised,” said De Bruin.

===================================

VIDEO: Swys de Bruin on his ‘inside knowledge’ of the Sharks backs given his Bok role

VIDEO: Lions Rugby Co coach Swys de Bruin on having 'inside knowledge' on The Sharks backs from his time at the Boks.

Posted by The Citizen Sport on Thursday, 28 June 2018

“Elton is a true professional, there’s a reason he’s played more than 100 Super Rugby matches. And we’ve seen before that he’s bounced back many times.”

The 27-year-old was arguably always going to be on the back foot last week in the rainy conditions at Newlands, which requires good tactical awareness but also some game-time as well.

Jantjies hadn’t played for almost three weeks before the Boks’ 10-25 loss.

“A flyhalf is only as good as the ball he’s getting,” said De Bruin.

“As Rassie (Erasmus, the Bok coach) said after that game, it’s very easy to blame Elton. I went through the clips again. Often, he had to do some wicketkeeping with a wet ball and the pressure being on. He learnt a lot again.”

Indeed, at his age, Jantjies is experienced but hardly done with absorbing hard lessons.

De Bruin also gave his assurance that the Lions playmaker simply won’t lie down after his latest knock.

“He’s resillient, he can take the punches. He ironically does a lot of boxing in his spare time. Elton is a real fighter, he’s an unbelievable team-man. I haven’t ever substituted Elton during the game. I’ve got that much faith in him, even when he has a bad game, we stick with him,” he said.

“I think that’s remarkable.”

Lions: Andries Coetzee, Ruan Combrinck, Lionel Mapoe, Harold Vorster, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Elton Jantjies, Ross Cronje, Warren Whiteley (c), Cyle Brink, Kwagga Smith, Franco Mostert, Marvin Orie, Ruan Dreyer, Malcolm Marx, Dylan Smith. Bench: Corne Fourie, Jacques van Rooyen, Johannes Jonker, Lourens Erasmus, Hacjivah Dayimani, Marnus Schoeman, Nic Groom, Courtnall Skosan.