Naas: Jean-Luc has us talking
Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer
Cape Town – He’s a Springbok and sports some 70 more Super Rugby caps than his opposite number … but that doesn’t mean Elton Jantjies will automatically have things all his own way for the Lions at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday.
That’s the suggestion of Bok legend Naas Botha as in-form Jantjies, many pundits’ favourite to grab the No 10 Test jersey in the June window if Pat Lambie still isn’t back to full fitness by then, goes head to head with raw Stormers pivot Jean-Luc du Plessis in the derby between respective Africa conference leaders (19:15 kick-off).
Botha told anchor Elma Smit on SuperSport’s “TMO” chat show on Thursday, as flashbacks were shown of the 21-year-old’s influential starting debut against the Sunwolves last weekend: “What was impressive was that it was his first game and suddenly after those 80 minutes everyone is talking about Jean-Luc du Plessis.
“I’d already seen him play as a schoolboy … absolutely fantastic; he’s got the pedigree,” said Botha of the son of Carel du Plessis, a national team-mate of his in the 1980s.
“The question we need to raise: there are other flyhalves who have been around for six, five, four years and nobody is talking about them.
“I don’t want to do those players down but I’m just saying that clearly there’s real talent (in Du Plessis). I think he has it.”
Botha urged that he be allowed further licence for expression, despite the demands of a tense, top-of-table occasion this weekend.
“(Last Friday) he had the freedom to play and if they keep giving him that … he can make a name for himself very quickly.
“You don’t go on one game and suddenly say ‘that’s the next Springbok flyhalf’, but we saw undoubted talent, and that we all love.”