All Blacks scrumhalf Aaron Smith believes Herschel Jantjies has a ‘very good career ahead of him’.
On Saturday, it was Smith who was left looking rather sheepish after he failed to collect a chip kick from Bok wing Cheslin Kolbe late in the game, with Jantjies winning back possession and going over to score a game-defining try.
Following the 16-16 draw in Wellington, Smith admitted that he actually hadn’t seen Jantjies coming.
‘I saw the winger chip it and I could see big Pieter-Steph du Toit coming, but I didn’t know there was someone else. I saw a photo and I’m already calling mark, I was pretty much ready: don’t drop it, call mark and take my time to kick it out, then we can back our defence again.
‘I saw the big man and thought “OK, cool, I’ve got enough gas on him”, then I was just trying to make sure I took it. I didn’t jump, I didn’t think I needed to. I wish I’d jumped.’
‘I thought if I’d jumped, Du Toit would’ve smoked me when I landed, so I thought just take the kick and mark it, but he [Jantjies] got the jump on me … just before I caught it, he [Jantjies] came out of nowhere from the other side of me.’
Smith, who was pictured after the game trading jerseys with Jantjies, said he had been very impressed by the potential of the young Bok star.
‘I think he’s got a very, very good career ahead of him. I played him this year for the Highlanders against the Stormers and he toweled up our heart defence, so he’s pretty sharp, but that’s like every team in the Rugby Championship.’
Photo: Steve Haag Sports via Hollywoodbets