Cooke warns of 'x-factor' Elton

Thu, 25 Jul 2013 13:22
Large elton jantjies lions hand Large matt sexton media Large ronnie cooke kings Large alan solomons kings presser Large elton jantjies lions kicks

Springbok Elton Jantjies could hold the key to the Lions' return to Super Rugby in 2014.

Springbok Elton Jantjies could hold the key to the Lions' return to Super Rugby in 2014.

Jantjies is one of three loan players who returned to the Lions last week - ahead of the first of their two Super Rugby promotion-relegation games, in Port Elisabeth on Friday.

Jantjies (back from the Stormers), hooker Martin Bezuidenhout (also Stormers) and Bok training squad member Franco van der Merwe (from the Sharks) started training with the Lions last week.

The Southern Kings host the Lions at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in PE this Friday, with the return fixture at Johannesburg's Ellis Park a week later (Saturday, August 3).

The series is being decided on a Super Rugby standings system - four points for a win, with losing and four-try bonus points part of the mix. The team who tops the standings after the two matches will be the fifth team in the South African conference in 2015.

With so much at stake it is expected the game will be an intense and brutal battle, but the Kings are well aware of the threats posed by the Bok flyhalf, Jantjies.

Kings centre Ronnie Cooke said the coastal outfit were prepared for a running game from the Lions.

"Elton brings an x-factor to the game that will suit the Lions, because they play a running game," Cooke said.

"He could spark something for them."

Kings Director of Rugby Alan Solomons and coach Matt Sexton said there was a feeling of "excitement" in the camp, but said they were concentrating on the basics and sticking largely to the defence-based game plan which had worked for them this season.

"I think the general feeling we have is excitement, it's a huge occasion, it's like a Test match or World Cup Final," Sexton said.

"The guys are looking forward to the occasion."

The New Zealander said he did not want to give too much away about the game plan.

"You take each team on their merits and there are opportunities that will be presented during the match and we just need to capitalise on that," he said.

"The times where we have been successful on the score board are times where we've been very clinical in our approach."

Solomons has encouraged his team to "live up to expectations".

"This match is critical to both franchises because the consequences of these matches are extremely serious," Solomons said ahead of the crunch encounter.

"The winners of these two matches remain in Super Rugby and the side that loses is out of Super Rugby.

"And you have to understand the consequences of not playing in Super Rugby, because there is no inspiration to retain young players and no top-class rugby for the public, so the consequences are dire."

After seeing the Lions team, Solomons said he was expecting a massive test, but was up to the contest.

"There is no question that the Lions have got some really good players, but I do not think they are better than we are," he said.

"I think this will be a tight affair that will turn on little things."

SAPA

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 27 April 2018
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 18h45 Welford Road
Sat, 28 April 2018
Reds v Lions 05h05 Suncorp Stadium
Blues v Jaguares 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Crusaders 09h45 Canberra
Kings v Cheetahs 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 14h00 Sandy Park
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 14h00 Sixways
Gloucester v Bath 14h00 Kingsholm
Connacht v Leinster 14h05 Sportsground
Dragons v Scarlets 14h05 Rodney Parade
Bulls v Highlanders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Treviso v Zebre 16h00 Stadio Monigo
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 16h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Ulster 16h35 Thomond Park
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 Myreside
Sun, 29 April 2018
London Irish v Saracens 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Wasps v Northampton Saints 14h00 Ricoh Arena
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 22 April 2018
Racing Metro v Munster 27 | 22
Brumbies v Jaguares 20 | 25
Sat, 21 April 2018
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 36 | 15
Zebre v Ospreys 37 | 14
Sharks v Stormers 24 | 17
Leinster v Scarlets 38 | 16
Bulls v Rebels 28 | 10
Reds v Chiefs 12 | 36
Crusaders v Sunwolves 33 | 11
Fri, 20 April 2018
Waratahs v Lions 0 | 29
Blues v Highlanders 16 | 34
Sun, 15 April 2018
Saracens v Bath 41 | 6
London Irish v Exeter Chiefs 5 | 45
Sat, 14 April 2018
Leinster v Treviso 15 | 17
Kings v Cardiff Blues 12 | 45
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 8 5 1 2 24
Rebels 87 4 0 4 21
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 15
Reds 8 3 0 5 13
Sunwolves 8 0 0 8 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 6 0 2 29
Hurricanes 7 6 0 1 27
Chiefs 8 6 0 2 26
Highlanders 7 5 0 2 24
Blues 8 2 0 6 12
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 9 6 0 3 30
Bulls 8 4 0 4 19
Sharks 9 3 1 5 18
Jaguares 9 4 0 5 16
Stormers 9 3 0 6 14