Lions hold their breath for Jantjies
Johannesburg - It won’t only be the Lions, but South African rugby in general will be holding their breath on news that Emirates Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies is again injured, and this time it could well be serious.
According to SuperSport.com, with five weeks until the three test series against Ireland, Jantjies is the favourite to take the No 10 jersey and has been the form flyhalf all season but news that he will have to undergo a scan on Tuesday will have not only the Lions, but also the Boks worried.
Jantjies limped off with a knee complaint in the second half of the Lions 50-point loss against the Hurricanes on Saturday, ending off a wholely unsatisfying day at the office for the flyhalf.
While coach Johan Ackermann has said he will have to wait for the medical report, the worry is understandable as Jantjies previously missed an injury scare that threatened to put him out of the Bok side when he injured his wrist a month ago – only to have it cleared a few hours later.
With Pat Lambie still to return and a host of young flyhalves in Vodacom Super Rugby action at the moment, Bok coach Allister Coetzee’s options are limited. If Jantjies falls, then the Bok mentor may have to either back a young player or look overseas at someone like Johan Goosen or Morne Steyn to fill the void for the Irish tests.
Jantjies will undergo the scan only on Tuesday because of the public holidays, but the Lions have a bye weekend in any case, and therefore he will be given some respite before he would want to take the field again anyhow.
Ackermann said there was a real worry in the camp as to his fitness.
“Elton has a little bit of a knee, at this stage it is a medial ligament but we are not sure of the extent of it. The moment we are sure we will send out the report but we will probably only know by Tuesday because of the holidays. The doctor said he will only be able to do a scan on Tuesday,” Ackermann said.
Medial ligaments are normally a few weeks on the sidelines, and the hope is that it isn’t a cruciate ligament injury, which will mean a long time out. Jantjies ironically was hesitant to come off the field on Saturday, eventually following medical advice after initially trying to continue.
The Lions will enjoy the weekend off, but when they return hope to have two of their stars in tighthead prop Julian Redelinghuys and hooker Malcolm Marx back from injury.
Redelinghuys is sitting with a wrist injury while Marx has a neck strain, although both are close to full fitness again and narrowly missed out on facing the Hurricanes this past weekend when they failed a late fitness test last Thursday.
“I hope so they really recovered well in two weeks. They have another two weeks and we will continue to treat them. They were close and Malcolm in particular was really close. So hopefully they will be ready for the next game,” Ackermann added.
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