Jantjies’ future up in the air
Jantjies’ future up in the airSHARE
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee on Monday sidestepped questions whether Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies would join the franchise on a long-term basis.
Heading into the penultimate round of the Super Rugby regular season this weekend and with the Stormers unlikely to reach the play-offs, Jantjies and the injured Jaco Taute’s loan stints from the Lions are nearing its end, with unconfirmed reports indicating that the Springbok pair will be extending their stay in Cape Town.
Coetzee has stuck with Jantjies at flyhalf ahead of Gary van Aswegen, suggesting that the Lions playmaker may well be in the Stormers’ long-term plans.
Coetzee, however, on Monday told reporters, “Don’t read anything into that.”
He explained: “The continued use [of Jantjies at flyhalf] is just to keep going with the combination. He’s settled in nicely and there’s good rhythm on our attack.
“It’s to make sure we improve week after week and his personal game [improves] as well. He’s been kicking well out of hand and if you look at Siya’s [Kolisi] try [against the Cheetahs], he was nice and flat on the line.”
It is believed that the Stormers are indeed in the market for the duo’s services and that Coetzee’s coyness on the matter could have been due to the fact that no negotiations may have been entered into prior to the opening of ‘hunting season’ on Monday (July 1).
Jantjies is set to return to the Lions for the upcoming Currie Cup campaign and with his and Taute’s contracts at the Lions expiring at the end of October, the race is on between the Cape Town and Johannesburg franchises to sign the pair.
Lions coach Johan Ackermann told this website ahead of his team's recent match against Samoa that he plans to meet with Jantjies to discuss his future.
Ackermann said Jantjies has a clause in his contract which allows him to decide if he wants to stay in Cape Town till the end of July and was eager to welcome him back before such time.
Coetzee added ahead of his team’s first ever Super Rugby trip to the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium that it was important to properly manage another exciting talent in youngster Cheslin Kolbe.
Coetzee warned that with Kolbe having had a heavy workrate as part of both the Baby Bok IRB World Junior Championship and BlitzBok Sevens World Cup squads and him having done extensive travelling in recent weeks that it may not be wise to fast-track him into Super Rugby over the next fortnight.
“There’s no doubt this kid has got talent and he’s got a future at Western Province and we’d like to bring him in as soon as possible, but we have to make sure we do it the right way,” said Coetzee.
“The workrate and intensity is different in Super Rugby and I have to make sure Cheslin is mentally and physically in a position to play at this level.”
Coetzee hinted that he would look to play Kolbe at fullback once he is ready to slot into the squad.
“He’s devastating at fullback. You just have to make sure you get the combinations right around him,” said the Stormers coach.
“He’s good under the high ball, he stands his ground defensively one-on-one, he has pace from the back and the boy has good kicking skills.”