Nienaber: Recalling Jantjies not an option

Jacques Nienaber says the Springboks would have liked to start Elton Jantjies in the decisive Rugby Championship clash with Argentina, but it would have been “unfair” to recall the flyhalf.

Nienaber on Tuesday named Frans Steyn to start at No 10 in one of two changes to the starting lineup for Saturday’s tournament finale in Durban, which the Springboks have to win to claim the title.

MORE: Steyn at 10 in Rugby Champs decider

Damian Willemse’s concussion means that the Boks are now down to their fifth-choice No 10, which prompted the question as to why Jantjies was not recalled, especially since management’s stance has been that the experienced playmaker did nothing wrong in the scandal that broke out around him earlier this month.

“It would have been nice, but for us and the sensitivity that is needed to deal with mental health issues and the external pressures he needs to deal with from a human perspective, it would have been unfair to get him back in the team,” Nienaber told media in Durban.

“There would be a lot of external pressure on him and for us, the individual as a human being comes first.”

Saturday’s Test will be the first time that veteran utility back Steyn wears the No 10 jersey in over 14 years. His previous Test start at flyhalf came against Italy in June 2008.

“He’s played 10 for the Cheetahs in the Currie Cup and he’s also trained a lot at 10 for us,” Nienaber said. “The same is applicable to Faf [de Klerk], who is also covering flyhalf and I guess when you lose a couple of 10s, that’s where you sit.

“Frans covers the same positions as Damian, but with 10 years of more experience.”

MORE: ‘All or nothing’ for Boks in Durban

Flyhalf has been a concern for supporters throughout the year, especially since Handre Pollard’s recent troubles with injuries.

Nienaber explained why the Springboks have consistently taken the stance of only having two out-and-out flyhalves in the squad.

“There are some good flyhalves coming through, but if we go that route and select them into the squad we would end up using five specialist flyhalves, and that would be too many as we wouldn’t have the time to divide our focus between them,” said Nienaber.

“We will be taking two specialist flyhalves to the World Cup next year and then we will have a utility back that can cover that position. All teams are made up like that. Even having five specialist flyhalves at an alignment camp is too many in terms of what that would mean for the allotment of time given to each of them by the coaching staff.”

WATCH: When Frans Steyn last started a Test at flyhalf

Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

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