Mitchell keeps faith in Elton
Cape Town – Elton Jantjies will keep his place in the Lions’ starting line-up for Friday night’s Super Rugby match against the Blues in spite of his poor goalkicking.
South Africa’s young player of 2010 could only manage two successful kicks from five attempts in each of his team’s narrow losses against the Bulls and Stormers.
That gives Jantjies a success ratio of 40% after two games.
The question is now whether or not handing André Pretorius the No 10 jersey will benefit the Lions.
Pretorius only slotted two of his four kicks for the Golden Lions in their Vodacom Cup match against Western Province at the weekend, but his temperament has stood the test of time and he also managed a drop goal on Saturday.
“Elton is our first-choice flyhalf. André has a role within our organisation. But I’m working with the future in mind,” Lions coach John Mitchell told Sport24 after his team’s 16-19 defeat to the Stormers.
Jantjies played well apart from his kicking and the Lions are certainly knocking hard on the door of achieving their first victory in this campaign. They have altitude as an ally this weekend against New Zealand opponents and the elusive win is certainly within their grasp.
There was a realisation on Saturday evening that they had lost a golden opportunity to beat the Stormers at Newlands.
“It’s one that got away,” admitted Mitchell.
“What impressed me is that we worked together as a team for a longer period. Eleven of the players only played in their second Super Rugby match, and the matches for the past two weekends were against last year’s champions and the other finalist. We’re definitely on an upward spiral.
“The match was a big mental deposit for us. We’re not far away. We have to keep working hard for each other and eventually we will get our reward as a group.”
Jantjies, of course, is a major part of the group and the coach’s faith in him may well meet with major reward in the future. However, the goalkicking is a concern.