Lions show must go on without Elton
Brendan Nel - SuperSport.com
Pretoria - The Emirates Lions will continue in the absence of their star flyhalf Elton Jantjies and will need to make a decision between three players to replace their pivot ahead of this weekend’s Vodacom Super Rugby clash with the Vodacom Bulls at Loftus Versfeld.
With the competition breaking for three weeks for the June internationals, the Lions need to find a new flyhalf and fullback now that Jaco van der Walt has also been ruled out.
Fullback is an easier option for coach Johan Ackermann with Sylvian Mahuza deputising well when Van der Walt went off and is likely to get the nod for the clash that could see the Lions edge out six points ahead of their conference rivals, the Cell C Sharks if they get a victory at Loftus.
But at flyhalf it is a different story. There is the tried and trusted in Springbok Marnitz Boshoff, who is fit and available but has so far been snubbed all season by the Lions, not featuring in any of their matches thus far, or there are two young flyhalves that could take the spot.
Boshoff signed overseas earlier this year and seemed to have fallen out of favour with the management after also being left out of the tour of Japan and New Zealand at the start of the season.
Reynolds has come through the ranks at the Lions since his days at Goudveld while Davids represented Boland at school levels before joining the Lions and working his way through the junior ranks.
Either way, whoever coach Johan Ackermann chooses, they will have their work cut out for them filling Jantjies’ boots, and the coach himself admits it is a massive setback for the team.
“If you lose players like Jaco and Elton, who have been in good form in the past few weeks then it is a setback. It is never nice but we have had a few injuries this season already with Harold (Vorster), Andries (Coetzee) and Ruan Dreyer and every time it has happened someone has come into the team and taken their chance,” Ackermann told Supersport.com
“Makou (Lourens Erasmus) grabbed his chance with Andries Ferreira who is out so hopefully we will be able to use Marnitz Boshoff or Shaun Reynolds, Ashton Davids. We will look at one of those three who have all looked good for the Currie Cup team in recent weeks.
“Naturally we will miss Elton’s form and confidence but it is a new player who will bring new energy. The good news is Elton should be available when we get back from the three week break and hopefully Jaco as well. We just need to get through this weekend and this is a chance for new players to stake a claim, but hopefully this won’t disturb the rhythm of our team.”
The Lions name their team for the clash on Thursday.
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