Witness Reporter
4 minute read
12 Nov 2021
07:02

Jantjies combination to steer Boks attack

Witness Reporter

Should the Springboks opt to fight fire with fire against Scotland in Edinburgh tomorrow, their fortunes will likely rest heavily on the shoulders of the two Jantjies players — Elton and Herschel — in their ranks.

Should the Springboks opt to fight fire with fire against Scotland in Edinburgh tomorrow, their fortunes will likely rest heavily on the shoulders of the two Jantjies players — Elton and Herschel — in their ranks.

Just like coach Jacques Nienaber has done with the front row, it seems the two Jantjies, who have already formed a bond off the field with matching tattoos and are room-mates on tour but are not related, are increasingly being seen as a combination when the Boks need to play a bit more expansively.

That in itself isn’t a bad thing, with the Boks looking to vary their style and add some more spice to their attack, something both players are known to bring to the equation.

Elton Jantjies is known as a very involved team-player, mimicking Scotland playmaker Finn Russell ahead of the third Test and now will face the Scottish pivot, who is seen as the next big thing ahead of the Test.

There have been reams of copy written about how different the Lions attack would have been with Russell at the helm, and Gregor Townsend being a more attacking-minded coach will relish a Springbok scalp to prove that the Lions were under the wrong game-plan against the Boks under Warren Gatland.

Scotland

15 Stuart Hogg (capt), 14 Rufus McLean, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price, 8 Matt Fagerson, 7 Jamie Ritchie, 6 Nick Haining, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4, Sam Skinner, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Scott McInally 1 Pierre Schoeman. Substitutes: 16 Ewan Ashman, 17 Jamie Bhattie, 18 Oli Kebble, 19 Jamie Hodgson, 20 Hamish Watson, 21 George Horne, 22 Adam Hastings, 23 Blair Kinghorn

But to do that they will need to unlock the Bok game-plan and, while the Scots see an attacking platform as an opportunity, the Bok selection sees exactly the same with the two Jantjies controlling matters behind the scrum.

“I know it sounds like a cliché, it is not about me as an individual, but about the team. The responsibility is on me now to lead the boys and to make sure that we execute as we should. We have been working as a group and we are aligned in that and that is my responsibility. It is us focusing on Scotland and not on the past because there are different challenges,” Elton Jantjies said.

And the bond with his namesake seems high on the agenda.

“It’s nice, we’re room-mates and there is a certain bond. Playing together is another chance for us to link and get the boys and make sure we execute our plan, playing in the right areas on the field and making sure we keep on looking for opportunities,” he added.

Elton has also taken note of Russell’s threat and his play against Australia last weekend. Much has been made in Scotland about the fact the Wallabies beat the Boks twice and the Scots beat the Wallabies ahead of this game.

“We’ve all seen what he was capable of in the last Test of the British and Irish Lions and he challenged our group in a different way. We got a bit of experience against him. For us it is just about focusing on our systems, working as a group and making sure we stop what he throws at us. But across the whole team, it isn’t the same team we’ve played in 2018, it is a different looking Scotland team.”

South Africa
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Jesse Kriel, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Siya Kolisi (capt), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche. Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Jasper Wiese, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Handre Pollard, 23 Frans Steyn

The way the Boks play is now almost second nature to them, and while the opposition poses different challenges, the Boks are comfortable in the way they play. What they will be on the lookout for tomorrow is opportunities to counter-attack.

“Damian [de Allende] spoke about it after training. The way we play works for us as a group and it covers everything. I can’t elaborate about it but for us as a group there is a big emphasis on looking for opportunities, and when it is there, we should take them and back ourselves to use them. That is part of us as a group. Hopefully on Saturday if we get a few opportunities and we are aware of it, we take those opportunities.

“For Herschel, if our game-plan suits the way we play and presents opportunities, and if he is in that position, hopefully he is in the mindset to take it.”

If that mindset is right and the opportunities present themselves, the Boks will be eyeing the Jantjies duo to do the magic they are known for.