Elton part of Lions' royalty
Elton Jantjies (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg – The Lions have closed ranks around new flyhalf sensation Elton Jantjies.
While the team has to protect 20-year-old Jantjies when the players come up against Griquas’ big guns in Saturday’s Currie Cup match at Coca-Cola Park, the new darling of the Lions is also being protected off the field.
The Lions have been so inundated with media requests the past week that team management have decided to turn them all down for now.
Jantjies is all the rage following an outstanding individual performance in which he scored 31 points against Western Province.
Under the wing of “King” Carlos Spencer as backline coach, “Prince” Elton Jantjies has become an exciting match-winner virtually overnight. He won his duel with Willem de Waal when the Lions beat WP 46-28 last week.
“I try not to read too many newspapers and magazines and rather just to focus on my game,” Jantjies answered when someone managed to sneak a question at Wednesday’s training session.
Just before that he succeeded with virtually every one of his 40 practice kicks at posts.
He has also succeeded with his last 11 place kicks in the Currie Cup.
Jantjies will again be one of the Lions’ key players in the match against Griquas and his weekly progress almost represents the growing hope that the Lions will have a powerful side in years to come.
Jantjies, who is a former pupil at Florida High on the West Rand, has his roots in Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape – a period in which he also attended Paarl Gymnasium.
It is now clear why the Lions went to the trouble of luring him to the North as a schoolboy.
And he did not travel to Gauteng on his own. Younger brother Tony, who is 18 and still in matric, will represent the Blue Bulls under-19 team at flyhalf in Saturday’s Currie Cup match against the Free State.
Tony initially went to Florida with Elton, but continued his studies at Menlopark High in Pretoria. He played his 50th and last game for the school’s first team last month.
While the Blue Bulls may soon have a “prince” of their own, the focus is now on Elton, whose play helped the Lions get back into the Currie Cup race.
It helps that he has Jano Vermaak and Doppies la Grange, two players that are arguably the best in their positions in the Currie Cup, either side of him.
La Grange is likely to play against Griquas in spite of a sore hamstring.
If La Grange is unable to play, his place will be taken by Burton Francis.
Joe Snyman is back at lock due to George Earle being injured.