Former Springbok flyhalf Braam van Straaten believes Elton Jantjies is in the driving seat to play a key role for the Boks should they participate in the Rugby Championship, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
By Friday, the Springboks are expected to confirm whether they will be heading to Australia for the Rugby Championship, which will finally bring clarity for the national players.
With Handre Pollard currently sidelined with a serious injury, South Africa’s director of rugby Rassie Erasmus recently provided an endorsement for Jantjies to step up as the ‘first-choice’ replacement at flyhalf.
With 37 Test caps to his name, Jantjies is the most experienced specialist flyhalf currently available to the Springboks. The 30-year-old Lions captain served as Pollard’s deputy during the 2019 World Cup, and played an integral role in helping his teammates plan for the specific threats posed by the opposition.
Chatting to SARugbymag.co.za, Van Straaten said the experience of Jantjies made him the ideal candidate to seamlessly step into the No 10 jersey.
‘I think there’s real depth, and I do believe youngsters like Curwin Bosch and Damian Willemse are really quality players, they just need to grow into the mould. The only way you get better is to play at that level day in and day out, it doesn’t happen overnight.
‘That’s why I want to come back to Elton Jantjies, he has been a seasoned campaigner. He’s been the best local player [for some time], and got the honours as the best Super Rugby player of the last decade. For me, Elton has stepped up, and playing in the right side with the right personnel he will just go from strength to strength.
‘That’s just Elton, he feels comfortable at this level, and I believe he will be in the driving seat if we play in the Rugby Championship. But the youngsters have begun to put pressure on the more senior players, and so I am really looking forward to that battle for the No 10 jersey.’