John Dobson says the Stormers know it’s their responsibility to cut down the time and space of Lions pivot Elton Jantjies, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
Beyond his role as the Lions’ captain, the experienced Jantjies is very much the general for the Johannesburg-based side.
When the Lions were able to get go-forward ball against the Sharks in the opening round of Vodacom Super Rugby Unlocked, Jantjies was able to step up into a comfortable space as a playmaker who looked confident as ever in conducting proceedings.
Renowned for his ability to dovetail between taking the ball to the line or distributing depending on the game situation, Jantjies also offers a threat with his cross-kicks and vision in taking good options.
When playing with momentum, there’s no denying the 30-year-old is one of the most influential players in the Lions camp, but his impact can often be diminished when he’s put under pressure and denied the space to dictate proceedings.
‘We have talked quite a bit about it,’ Dobson said during a virtual press conference on Thursday. ‘Elton is obviously their game driver, that is no secret. And if you give a guy like that a lot of time, he’s such a quality player [he can make you pay].
‘So we have looked at ways of taking away his time and putting him under pressure, which is part of our plan, and it would be irresponsible not to do that.’
For the Stormers, this will also be an opportunity to put their extensive preparation into match-day practice, with the Cape-based side having shown some encouraging signs during the recent Vodacom Super Fan Day.
After a bye in round one though, Dobson suggested the players would be raring to go.
‘We have made a massive change in our training, we are exceeding game metrics every week. We’re putting more and more in, and I don’t think there’s anything more we could have done in the confines of which we could operate … The only thing hanging over us is that we haven’t been tested properly in game situation yet.’