'You are having a go at him': Bok coach defends Jantjies
REACTION: Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber came to Elton Jantjies’ defence after the flyhalf produced a shocking first-half performance against Wales in Pretoria on Saturday.
The Springboks won the match 32-29 thanks to a Damian Willemse penalty after the full-time hooter.
Nienaber’s side had to produce a strong fightback in the second half after they were down 3-18 at the break. Jantjies was at the heart of the Boks’ poor performance in the first 40 minutes before Willie le Roux replaced him at half-time.
The Boks seemed directionless with Jantjies at No.10 and his tactical kicking was not up to standard as well.
Willemse eventually took over the flyhalf duties in the second half.
Nienaber defended Jantjies by explaining that the 31-year-old didn’t have enough game time this year.
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“I think Elton probably played less than 30 minutes this year,” said the Springbok coach.
“He did his shoulder and he obviously went through his rehab. Also, his Japanese club didn’t go to the Final, so there were no games to expose him to.
“The only exposure he probably had the whole year was at training.
“We needed to get him in some games and it will always take some time for a guy who has been out for a long time.
“Lucky for us he got 40 minutes under the belt today [Saturday].
“You can train as much as you want and you can put guys into as many contact sessions as you can in training, but I guess there is no pressure there.
“It was good for us to expose him to Test rugby.”
Despite giving the above answer, the Bok coach was still pressed by the media to explain the half-time substitution.
“The plan is to take a guy off when you feel he has given everything,” said Nienaber.
“Sometimes we sub a guy at 32 minutes and we have done that before.
“Once we feel that they have done their job then we sub them and put somebody else on.”
When pressed further, Nienaber responded: “You are having a go at him.
“If you take the performance into account – he hasn’t played any rugby and we are playing against a good side.
“He got through 40 minutes and he’ll be better next week.”
— rugby365.com (@rugby365com) July 3, 2022