Elton Jantjies's kicking and attacking option-taking earned the Lions a historic semi-final win against the Highlanders, according to SARugbymag.co.za’s Opta-powered stats.
The Lions beat the Highlanders 42-30 at Ellis Park on Saturday. The hosts were even more dominant than the scoreline suggests. In fact, the Highanders scored 24 of their 30 points after the 49th minute.
While the Lions forwards set a terrific platform, credit should go to the backs for their execution and finishing. The Lions scored five tries in this contest, but also won 57% of the territory. Tactical kickers such as Jantjies and Faf de Klerk should take a bow.
Jantjies was outstanding in front of goal. He nailed seven of his eight attempts on goal, and scored the game's first try. Overall, he contributed 22 points.
But his contribution wasn't limited to his goal-kicking or that one incisive run that culminated in a try. The Springbok flyhalf set up Courtnall Skosan for a five-pointer in the second half. He completed a pinpoint cross-kick to Lions skipper Jaco Kriel, which also led to a try.
The hosts' final try was also a product of Jantjies's incredible vision and execution. The flyhalf chipped over the Highlanders defence, and replacement lock Lourens Erasmus chased the kick, regathered, and scored.
Jantjies varied his game well. He completed 22 passes, seven kicks and racked up 41 running metres (making one clean break and beating three defenders in the process).
What he will look to improve in the coming week, though, is his defence. Jantjies missed five of his 12 tackle attempts at Ellis Park on Saturday.
Photo: Anne Laing/HSM Images