After just two Tests, young Herschel Jantjies has racked up three tries. CRAIG LEWIS takes a closer look at his sensational support play.
Last Saturday, Jantjies again emerged as the man of the moment when he finished off an opportunistic try to help the Boks claim a 16-16 draw with the All Blacks in Wellington.
After that encounter, coach Rassie Erasmus highlighted just how Jantjies seems to have a natural feel for the game.
‘With a guy like him you need to keep his natural game flowing and not overcoach him too much on all the technical things,’ he commented. ‘His service is nice and crisp, his feeling for the game and support play is a great thing that he brings to the game.’
With that in mind, take a look at the clip below. Jantjies starts the play to the blindside, with Handré Pollard showing great hands to get the ball to Willie le Roux, who shovels it on (perhaps marginally forward) to Cheslin Kolbe.
Keep an eye on Jantjies throughout this play. As he folds around, he constantly keeps his eyes trained on Kolbe as he weaves in between two defenders and then ups his speed to ensure he’s in a position to contest for possession.
It’s also worth noting how Jantjies is able to catch Aaron Smith completely off guard, with the All Blacks scrumhalf having his back turned on the Boks’ replacement No 9.
‘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,’ Smith conceded after the game. ‘Just before I caught it, he [Jantjies] came out of nowhere from the other side of me.’
The week before, Jantjies had also displayed his class when it comes to reading the game. As the footage below shows, Francois Louw first secures an important turnover. The Bok scrumhalf spots the ball being stolen and darts in to collect possession before firing a pass to Beast Mtawarira.
Jantjies then follows play, keeping an eye on S’bu Nkosi, looking up to assess where the defender is, and then ensuring he drifts a little wider to receive the pass with the tryline at his mercy.
In all, Jantjies completes the try from a turnover that was won on the Boks’ 10m line.
All of these factors point to the innate talents of Jantjies, who has enjoyed a seamless transition from Super Rugby to Test level.
Photo: Willem Loock/BackpagePix