Cape Town – Three-and-a-half years after making his Test debut, Elton Jantjies will start in the Springbok No 10 jersey for the first time against Ireland at Ellis Park on Saturday.
It is a must-win match for South Africa after they lost 26-20 at Newlands last Saturday to go 1-0 down in the three-Test series.
Jantjies gets his chance due to the concussion suffered by Patrick Lambie who was stretchered off in the 22nd minute of last weekend’s match after CJ Stander’s late attempted charge-down.
The form South African No 10 in Super Rugby this season, Jantjies has been at the heart of the Lions and their attacking enterprise.
But Springbok coach Allister Coetzee wants to see more than just flair from his new flyhalf.
He wants game management, intelligent kicking and somebody who can take control of the match.
“I know there will be a huge expectation for Elton to fire,” Coetzee said at Thursday’s team announcement in Johannesburg.
“I just want to see Elton take control of the game and manage it well. That’s the big thing about Test match rugby. It’s not hitting sixes, I expect Elton to get us to play in the right areas of the field.
“I expect Elton to beat the rush and to be clever, make good decisions when the space is on at the back and get us there.”
Coetzee is fully aware of the public’s desire to see an attacking brand of rugby, and, while he is not against that, he says it is important to choose when to attack with ball in hand and when to be patient.
“I know that a lot of people expect a bit of running rugby … my philosophy is that if it’s on, then it’s on,” said Coetzee.
“It could be on in minute one, and players must make those decisions, but we’re not going to play unnecessarily if it’s not on.
“I know that there will be an expectation that because he (Jantjies) is there we must have this attacking flair at all costs and at all times. I know he can run and he can manage a game as well.”
Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:00.
15 Willie le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Julian Redelinghuys, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Warren Whiteley, 21 Rudy Paige 22 Morne Steyn, 23 Ruan Combrinck
15 Jared Payne, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Stuart Olding,
11 Craig Gilroy, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7
Rhys Ruddock, 6 Iain Henderson, 5 Quinn Roux, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Tadhg
Furlong, 2 Rory Best (captain), 1 Jack McGrath
Substitutes: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18
Finlay Bealham, 19 Donnacha Ryan, 20 Sean Reidy, 21 Kieran Marmion, 22
Ian Madigan, 23 Tiernan O’Halloran