World Cup-winning flyhalf Joel Stransky says the 10-12 combination of Elton Jantjies and Handre Pollard is something the Springboks should persist with. DYLAN JACK reports.
While Pollard was clearly the first-choice flyhalf in 2018, starting all but two Tests last year, Jantjies was largely relegated to the bench.
However, coach Rassie Erasmus provided a different way of using Janjies in the latter stages of 2018. Instead of utilising the Lions playmaker as a direct replacement for Pollard, Jantjies would usually replace one of the centres, shifting Pollard into the 12 channel.
This was first used to good effect in the Boks’ most memorable match of last year when they beat the All Blacks in Wellington. Jantjies came off the bench early in the second half and helped create Aphiwe Dyantyi’s match-winning try. It was a strategy also used regularly on the 2018 end-of-year tour.
Stransky, who helped the Springboks win the World Cup in 1995, told SARugbymag.co.za that using Pollard and Jantjies as a combination, rather than as competition, could aid the Boks in their campaign in Japan this year.
‘When we look back on all the World Cups, every team which has won a World Cup has had that double pivot in that 10-12 slot,’ Stransky said. ‘When you think back, Australia had Michael Lynagh and Tim Horan, for England it was Jonny Wilkinson and Mike Catt, and for the All Blacks, it was Dan Carter and Aaron Mauger.
‘There has always been that 10-12 combination which has delivered great decision-making ability. You might include Damian Willemse in that as well. As much as he is the best fullback in the country at the moment, you would think that he would slot into that position if needed.
‘The other thing you need to consider, is that Pollard has kicked unbelievably well. His general play has been a bit erratic at times, but he plays the type of game where he can be a bit more physical and does slot into that 12 channel.’
Stransky was talking ahead of his appearance as a guest speaker at a charity event in Orchards, Johannesburg, for the Hebrew Order of David. The event aims to raise funds for Stransky’s own charity, the Lumo Hawk Foundation.
Funds will go toward the foundation’s Vision 20/20 project in order to buy a new mobile auto refractor to test the eyesight of underprivileged children.
‘We have a number of channels to reach the children through the partners we work with, some of which are universities and eye clinics,’ Stransky said. ‘The machine will make the testing process a whole lot easier and more efficient, enabling more kids to be tested in a shorter space of time.
‘This year, for awareness and to raise funds, I have already done the Cape Epic, the Two Oceans as well as a swim from Robben Island to Blouberg. Later this year, I am wanting to do the Comrades. That is my big challenge.’
Donations to the charity can be made on the website at lumohawk.co.za