Ross Roche
Senior sports writer
2 minute read
9 Nov 2021
6:30 pm

Jantjies’ big Bok task: Open up the best defence in the North

Ross Roche

The No 10 will be up against the attack-minded Finn Russell of Scotland in what should be a classic clash.

Elton Jantjies will have to find a way to open up the best defence in the Six Nations when the Springboks clash with Scotland on Saturday. Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images

Elton Jantjies was one of three big changes to the Springbok team to take on Scotland in their second end-of-year UK tour match at Murrayfield on Saturday, and he will be tasked with opening up the home side’s defence.

Jantjies comes into the side for Handre Pollard who drops to the bench, while Franco Mostert also comes in for a straight swap with Lood de Jager and Willie le Roux returns to fullback with Damian Willemse ruled out of the squad as he has to follow concussion return to play protocols.

The Jantjies decision was the most interesting of the lot, with him set to front up against Scotland star Finn Russell in what should be a classic battle between two attacking minded flyhalves.

ALSO READ: Jantjies in at 10, Le Roux back at fullback for Scotland Test

“Scotland has been the best defensive side in the Northern Hemisphere in 2020 and 2021. They have conceded the least tries and least points in the Six Nations, so they are a formidable side to break down and don’t concede a lot of points,” explained Bok coach Jacques Nienaber.

“With Scotland we have done some analysis on them and we have identified a few areas of opportunity, so with Elton coming in he has to fit himself into the team’s plan, while he also has a specific skillset which he needs to utilise on Saturday.”

A massive moment in the match will also see Bok legend Frans Steyn become the first South African to wear the green and gold for over 15 years when he makes his inevitable appearance off the bench.

‘Frans is brilliant’

Steyn made his Bok debut as a 19-year-old on the 2006 end-of-year tour against Ireland in Dublin, so it is fitting that he marks the occasion on another UK tour, this time against Scotland.

“Frans is brilliant. If you look at our selection policy you have to be aligned with the mindset of the Springbok team and Frans is 100% aligned,” said Nienaber.

“Before his man of the match performance this past weekend Frans had only played 186 minutes in the 10 Test matches we had available (this year), so although he knows we are giving other players opportunity, he’s there fulfilling his role.

“He’s still unbelievably competitive, so it’s tough for him to sit there but he knows his role and knows what we are trying to do as a group and has bought into that, so he’s not selfish. He has bought into the bigger cause of the Springboks so it’s not about him, but what’s best for the team.

“Being 15 years in the game he doesn’t expect special treatment, he is a brilliant rugby player and experience counts for a lot as you can see by his performance on Saturday.”