Boks to pay the price for not blooding new flyhalf
The Boks have targeted Johan Goosen as the preferred backup to Handre Pollard going forward.
Damian Willemse (left) will deputize at flyhalf in the absence of Elton Jantjies who was sent home from Argentina. Picture: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images
The Springboks are set to pay the price for not blooding a new flyhalf, after Elton Jantjies was sent home from Argentina on Sunday due to explosive allegations of an affair with the team’s dietician in Mbombela last month ahead of the All Blacks Test.
This has left the Boks without a frontline flyhalf in the squad, with Handre Pollard ruled out of the rest of the Rugby Championship with a knee injury after their Rugby Champs loss against Australia in Adelaide a few weeks ago.
When questioned about only picking two frontline flyhalves in the squad at the start of the season, Bok coach Jacques Nienaber admitted he was happy with the amount of utility players who could cover the position in a pinch.
Damian Willemse has certainly filled the void admirably, playing a half against Wales in the first game of the season and then putting in a man-of-the-match performance against the Wallabies in their last game.
It would be a massive surprise if Willemse, who has played most of the season at fullback, doesn’t continue in the position in the Boks’ final two games of the Rugby Championship against the Pumas.
For the match in Buenos Aires, Willemse will most likely be backed up by Willie le Roux and Frans Steyn, but both are just stop gaps and show the lack of depth at flyhalf in the Bok system currently.
The Boks have targeted Johan Goosen as the preferred backup to Pollard, when he returns to fitness, but Goosen needs to prove that he is back to his best for the Bulls in the URC first.
One of either Manie Libbok, who enjoyed a brilliant debut season for the Stormers in the URC, and up and coming Lions flyhalf Jordan Hendrikse, should have been part of the Bok squad this season, and they should be brought in for the final match against the Pumas in Durban next week.
This could also be the end of the road for Jantjies Bok career, with this the second major scandal of the year for the player after he was arrested at OR Tambo after a flight earlier in the year for vandalism, with those charges provisionally withdrawn.
At 32 years old it doesn’t make sense to keep backing a player who has not reached his potential at international level and continues to get into the headlines for all the wrong reasons.