Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus is refusing to give up on Elton Jantjies with the Lions flyhalf set to start against Argentina this weekend.
Jantjies has played 26 Tests for the Springboks in the last seven years and over 100 matches for the Lions in Super Rugby. It’s in the latter competition where Jantjies has blossomed as a general. He has been influential in the Lions reaching three successive finals. But his Test form has never been of the same quality.
His last Test, against England at Newlands, was among his poorest. Erasmus subbed him after an hour.
The following week Jantjies produced a sublime Super Rugby performance.
The Jantjies critics regard him as a player who just isn’t good enough for Test rugby. Erasmus doesn’t share the view.
It’s the first season he has ever worked with Jantjies and he believes that the player will ultimately come good.
Handre Pollard is the first choice flyhalf and he has started three of Erasmus’s first five Tests in charge. Jantjies has been the flyhalf for the other two.
Erasmus, whose primary aim is to build depth in each position, will also tweak the team that beat Argentina 34-21 in Durban.
The Bok coach trimmed his Rugby Championship squad to 28 for the away match in Argentina. The players who will remain in South Africa are: Jean-Luc du Preez (loose-forward), Sikhumbuzo Notshe (loose-forward) and Marvin Orie (lock).
Flanker Cyle Brink is unavailable because of injury and the backs left out are: Ross Cronje (scrumhalf), Jesse Krile (centre) and Lwazi Mvovo (wing).
Springbok travelling squad for the Rugby Championship match in Argentina
Thomas du Toit (prop, Sharks), Pieter-Steph du Toit (lock/loose forward, Stormers), Eben Etzebeth (lock, Stormers), Steven Kitshoff (prop, Stormers), Siya Kolisi (captain – loose forward, Stormers), Francois Louw (loose forward, Bath, England), Wilco Louw (prop, Stormers), Frans Malherbe (prop, Stormers), Malcolm Marx (hooker, Lions), Bongi Mbonambi (hooker, Stormers), Franco Mostert (lock, Gloucester, England), Tendai Mtawarira (prop, Sharks), RG Snyman (lock, Bulls/Honda Heat ), Akker van der Merwe (hooker, Sharks), Marco van Staden (loose forward, Bulls), Warren Whiteley (No 8, Lions)
Lukhanyo Am (centre, Sharks), Faf de Klerk (scrumhalf, Sale Sharks, England), Aphiwe Dyantyi (wing, Lions), André Esterhuizen (centre, Sharks/Sanix Blues, Japan), Elton Jantjies (flyhalf, Lions), Willie le Roux (fullback, Wasps, England), Makazole Mapimpi (wing, Sharks), Lionel Mapoe (centre, Lions), Embrose Papier (scrumhalf, Bulls), Handré Pollard (flyhalf, Bulls), Ivan van Zyl (scrumhalf, Bulls), Damian Willemse (flyhalf, Stormers)