Jantjies gets second 'life'
Elton Jantjies (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Elton Jantjies will get his second "life" in the same Vodacom Super Rugby tournament on Saturday when he runs out as Lions flyhalf against the Brumbies in Canberra.
The young Springbok was brought down to earth with a bang this year after struggling to make the grade in Super Rugby after a rapid rise in 2010.
Lions coach John Mitchell has used both André Pretorius and Burton Francis since axing Jantjies.
Pretorius was quickly injured again, but Francis brought a level of consistency that the Lions were looking for. Even so, Jantjies is back in the No 10 jersey this week.
"I had reason to leave Elton out for a while, but it kept him humble," said Mitchell.
"I think he can now prepare himself better for a big game. We also want to attack the defensive line a lot more and Elton can do that.
"Burton got us in good positions on the field and succeeded with his kicks at goal, but does not attack the line enough. Elton is therefore back and we will see whether he learned from his previous experiences. He clearly has all the talent one could want."
To let Jantjies loose in Australia now is probably better than doing it at Coca-Cola Park in Johannesburg. Angry Lions supporters turned on the 20-year-old flyhalf this season when he and the team started struggling in the tournament.
Even so, Mitchell has a lot of confidence in Jantjies and the coach believes his latest Springbok will quickly have supporters behind him again.
With Butch James potentially available for next week's game against the Waratahs, Jantjies will have to grab the opportunity with both hands.
Jano Vermaak will be Jantjies's halfback partner against the Brumbies. Vermaak has been one of the Lions' best players for a number of seasons, but has struggled this year.
He and new acquisition Rory Kockott have been rotated at scrumhalf, but neither of them have really made their mark.
15 Pat McCabe, 14 Andrew Smith, 13 Tyrone Smith, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 10 Matt Giteau (captain), 9 Josh Valentine, 8 Ita Vaea, 7 Colby Faingaa, 6 Mitch Chapman, 5 Ben Hand, 4 Peter Kimlin, 3 Jono Owen/Dan Palmer, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Ben Alexander
Substitutes: 16 Huia Edmonds, 17 Salesi Ma'afu/Jono Owen, 18 Mark Chisholm, 19 Michael Hooper, 20 Patrick Phibbs, 21 Robbie Coleman, 22 Henry Speight
15 Jaco Taute, 14 Lionel Mapoe, 13 Dylan des Fountain, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Deon van Rensburg, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Wikus van Heerden, 3 Patric Cilliers, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg
Substitutes: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Kevin Buys, 18 Warren Whiteley, 19 Cobus Grobbelaar, 20 Rory Kockott, 21 Burton Francis, 22 Jannie Boshoff