HERSCHEL JANTJIES IS OUR BEST SCRUMHALF
If Rassie Erasmus is going to adhere to his selection promise that he will reward form over experience then Herschel Jantjies has to start over Faf de Klerk for the big games FULL STOP.
Jantjies showed once again on Saturday that his tools are sharper than Faf’s … by a long way.
Firstly his pass is electric and accurate. He doesn’t need a step first and can swing it left and right with pace and accuracy. Like a Federer backhand, some of his bullet passes across the backline were incredible to watch. That additional split second that his passing gives the backline is invaluable in the modern game. The late great Chester Williams who was his coach at UWC said this “In his first training session at UWC, he gave his first pass and all the players were like ‘who the hell is this?’ Nobody expected to see this little guy pass like that; they couldn’t believe how far and accurate he could pass.” MyTwoCents believes he has the best pass in world rugby.
Secondly. his box kicking is better than Faf’s. There were plenty of moans and groans over Faf’s box kicking against the All Blacks – handing over possession for little gain time and again. Jantjies has his box kick radar better dialled in, often putting Namibia under pressure with proper hang time in the air and with the kicks landing closer to the sideline and therefore giving the opposition less space to manoeuvre.
Finally, he has a snipe and an eye for the gap – something that De Klerk has been very shy with lately. Jantjies will keep the opposing defenders guessing and he possesses that X-factor in spades.
MyTwoCents sees Rassie giving him the starting jersey for the game against Italy.
ELTON JANTJIES … EISH!
While his room mate, namesake and halfback partner Herschel was delivering from the base of the scrum, Elton at pivot was not. A cocktail of dropped passes, poor kicks for touch and posts and an inability to dictate a game against the lowest-ranked team at the RWC will have had Rassie reaching for his red pen. Rassie should ban tackles on Handre Pollard at practice because if he goes down we are in trouble! Frans Steyn could potentially fill in at No.10 should our worst fear materialise.
Which brings to our next take-away …
IS STEYN WASTED ON THE BENCH?
Bringing back Steyn from the cold was a masterstroke by the Springbok management. He brings composure, experience and a calm head to the backline. His massive clearing boot is still there too. While he sometimes looks like he hasn’t lost the keys to the fridge he still has enough in his tank to handle the pace and go the distance at this level.
The big question is: Is he wasted on the bench? It’s a tough one because his versatility means that he can cover at least three positions off the wood and allows Rassie to balance the bench. BUT, he is better than Damian de Allende at centre and ALOT better than the bumbling Willie Le Roux at fullback.
One thing everyone is failing to consider is this: He can STILL cover a number of positions and provide that SAME versatility by starting. Hear me out. Let’s say he comes in at fullback. If Pollard gets injured he shifts to flyhallf. If De Allende goes off he shifts to centre. Jesse Kriel can cover the wings and centre positions from the bench and that covers most of the backline. Willie can come off the bench if needed and inject some late pace into the game. This move would also solve our problem at fullback.
Which brings us to our final take away …
HOW TO SOLVE THE BACK THREE
This dilemma is becoming as complicated as Chinese algebra. The problem is as follows: Le Roux is not cutting it at fullback and Makazole Mapimpi is a defensive liability against the big teams on the left wing. But Cheslin Kolbe is playing lights out rugby on the right wing which happens to be S’bu Nkosi’s preferred side on the wing too. Warrick Gelant had a great chance to solve this against Namibia but let the opportunity slip between his butter fingers on the day. MyTwoCents rates him though – he just needs to add some polish to his game but he won’t have time to get that in order for the purposes of this RWC.
How about this? Shift Kolbe to fullback, Nkosi to right wing and stick Kriel on the left wing? Kolbe is great under the high ball and would be just as dangerous from fullback, if not more. The idea has merit but that’s too much of a shuffle at this point in the RWC.
…. Or this? Steyn to fullback, Kolbe stays where he is and N’kosi gets a run on the left wing? I like this alot more … but I also like Steyn at first centre instead of de Allende. Sadly Aphiwe Dyantyi’s positive drug test has really messed with the balance of the back three.
Like I said its complicated …