Johannesburg – There are few players in South
African rugby as polarising as Elton Jantjies, but on Saturday against
the Brumbies the Lions flyhalf will reach a major milestone when he plays his
100th Super Rugby match.
Now 27, Jantjies has been at the heart of the
Lions’ revolution over the last five years.
He has also been South Africa’s form flyhalf in
Super Rugby over the past three seasons, and he was instrumental in guiding the
Lions to back-to-back finals ion 2016 and 2017.
Yet, despite all of that, Jantjies has still
struggled to convince South Africans that he should be entrusted with the
Springbok No 10 jersey.
With Handre Pollard back to full fitness and in
good form at the Bulls, that battle is set to commence ahead of the June
For now, though, Jantjies will be fully focused on
getting the Lions back to winning ways.
A player with natural attacking pedigree, Jantjies
certainly has the support of his coach.
“It’s a massive honour for me,” De Bruin
told media from Ellis Park on Thursday.
“I was still at the Sharks and I admired his
style of play and I was hoping I could coach him one day.
“He is an absolute general and what I love
about him is that he can take the knocks and come back. A lot of flyhalves have
come and gone it that time.”
According to De Bruin, it is Jantjies’ willingness
to learn and ability to stay grounded that separates him from the rest.
“He is very coachable, and he inspires the
guys around him,” said the coach.
“It’s a big thing if you play 100 games at No
10 and you’re still coachable. A lot of them lose that ability and I think
that’s what makes Elton so special.
“When he was at the Springboks now, the calls
that we shared meant a lot to me. It showed a mutual respect.
“I’ve got massive respect for him as a player
and a human being. I love it when people say this or that, and he always comes
back. He is tenacious. He never gives up.”
Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:15.
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Sylvian Mahuza, 13 Aphiwe
Dyantyi, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Madosh Tambwe, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9
Nic Groom, 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Franco Mostert (captain), 6 Kwagga Smith, 5
Marvin Orie, 4 Lourens Erasmus, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Dylan Smith
Substitutes: 16 Corne Fourie, 17 Jacques van
Rooyen, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Len Massyn, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Ross Cronje,
22 Shaun Reynolds, 23 Ruan Combrinck