SARugbymag.co.za looks at the Springboks’ flyhalf options for the upcoming World Cup in Japan.
Handre Pollard (flyhalf/centre)
The Springbok incumbent, Pollard has been Rassie Erasmus’ trusted option in the No 10 jersey, starting in 13 Tests since the beginning of last year. Still just 25, Pollard sits behind Percy Montgomery and Morne Steyn at third place on the Boks’ all-time point-scorers list. Pollard boasts a physicality that not only allows him to take the ball flat and keep opposition defences on their toes, but also ensures that his own channel does not get targeted by big ball-carriers. Pollard appears to be hitting his form at the right time, scoring an impressive 42 points combined against the All Blacks and Argentina in the Rugby Championship. A 10-12 combination between himself and Elton Jantjies was used during the Rugby Championship last year, but that appears to have been ditched with Frans Steyn returning to take up a regular place on the Bok bench.
Elton Jantjies (flyhalf)
As one of the Boks’ flair players, the cliche is that you never know what you are going to get from Jantjies. The 29-year-old has traditionally had a rocky history when it has come to converting his excellent form for the Lions to the Springboks. However, something has noticeably changed between last year’s Rugby Championship and this year. Jantjies appears to be more confident and assured of his decision-making at Test level. Whether that has been down to building Jantjies’ confidence from the bench, the influence from now departed assistant Swys de Bruin or simply growth in the player himself, Jantjies is certainly playing with more calm and assurance than what he used to. Question marks remain over Jantjies’ defence, which was exposed during this year’s Super Rugby, but he has shown that he is becoming comfortable in the Bok jersey and can step into a starting berth if called upon.
Frans Steyn (centre/flyhalf/fullback)
Steyn’s availability has thrown something of a spanner in the works when it comes to planning around the flyhalf position. While Jantjies was the constant backup on the bench for Pollard in 2018, Steyn’s comfortability at both 10 and 12 has given him the utility back role as part of the substitutes. Erasmus hinted at trying Steyn out at flyhalf during the Rugby Championship and warm-ups, but so far the coach has stuck to using him as a replacement centre. Steyn has shown that he still has the sleight of hand and cannon boot to make playing in the No 10 jersey a possibility, even though it is unlikely.
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images