Thu 26 Apr 2018 | 01:35

AUDIO: Red tide heading Jantjies' way

Swys de Bruin about Elton Jantjies by Rugby365 interviews
Thu 26 Apr 2018 | 01:35
AUDIO: Red tide heading Jantjies' way

Jantjies' defence has been regarded as his 'soft underbelly' and at times this season, it appeared he was indeed defensively frail.

He had a satisfactory start to the season, missing just one of his nine tackle-attempts in a win against the Sharks.

Then things started to go pearshaped – Jantjies missing two of his five tackle-attempts in the win over the Jaguares at Ellis Park, missing three of nine tackle-attempts in the win over the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld, five out of 10 tackle-attempts in the loss to the Blues at Ellis Park, two out of eight tackle-attempts in the narrow win over the Sunwolves and three out of nine tackle attempts in the loss to the Jaguares in Buenos Aires.

It was all his detractors needed, with some of the more spiteful and childish haters even wanting him before a 'firing squad'.

However, since the Lions' returned to South Africa his form – and in particular his defence – showed a marked improvement.

In the loss to the Crusaders at Ellis Park, he missed just two out of 10 tackle attempts – for a respectable 80 percent tackle success rate.

That was followed up with missing just one from eight attempts against the Stormers (88 percent success rate) and two from 10 (again 80 percent) against the Waratahs.

It was last week's performance against the Tahs in Sydney – the start of a month-long road trip – that most impressed the coach, De Bruin.

It was the type of traffic, Waratahs left wing Taqele Naiyaravoro, that showed Jantjies is not as frail on defence as the naysayers would have us believe.

And De Bruin said it is not just on defence where Jantjies is showing an upward curve.

"The last five years that I have been involved at the Lions, Elton has been the general [play-maker]," the coach said.

"He is in great form and his decision-making is good.

"From an attacking perspective, I am very happy with Elton. He understands where the pressure is.

"He is helping the team, especially the forwards, a lot."

De Bruin said he is expecting a lot of traffic from the Reds to come Jantjies' way on Saturday.

"Their No.12 [captain Samu Kerevi] is their best player and he is a very direct runner," the coach said of the Reds, adding: "He [Kerevi] will make cut-backs into Elton Jantjies' channel.

"However, Elton – the way he stopped that big monster of the Waratahs [Taqele Naiyaravoro] last week – he is a very gutsy player and defends well.

"Elton, whoever runs at him, he will be ready."


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Audio: Red Tide Heading Jantjies' Way | Rugby365