Swanepoel set for run at flyhalf

Fresh from signing a new deal with the Lions, Tiaan Swanepoel is set to get a run of games at flyhalf in the preparation matches. DYLAN JACK reports.

Swanepoel, who joined the Lions at the end of 2019 from Australian club side West Harbour, has signed a new three-year contract, which will keep him with the Lions until 2024.

The 24-year-old finished the 2020 Currie Cup season in the top five for most points (63, rank second), most tries (three, rank second), highest kicking accuracy (84.21%, rank three) and ball carries (38, rank three).

SARugbymag.co.za understands that, starting from this weekend’s match against the Pumas in Johannesburg, Swanepoel will be playing a few games at flyhalf in an intriguing positional change.

With Elton Jantjies leading the Lions last season, Swanepoel was primarily fielded at fullback, where he formed an effective combination with his skipper during Super Rugby Unlocked and the Currie Cup.

Swanepoel is not a rookie in this position, however, as he played at flyhalf during his stint in the Shute Shield with West Harbour, as well as during his days as a 1st XV rugby player at Stellenberg Hoërskool.

‘I was playing at flyhalf for the last two years in Australia, but then I started playing fullback again when I moved to the Lions,’ Swanepoel told SA Rugby magazine in January.

‘I played at flyhalf for most of my life, actually. To get the opportunity to play at fullback and watch Elton [Jantjies] play at 10 is part of the learning curve on how to play at flyhalf. It’s also a growing process for me at fullback, to get the best out of me.’

Even though the plan at the moment is just to play Swanepoel at flyhalf while Jantjies gets an extended break, the potential is there to make the position switch more permanent as the Lions captain has reportedly received an offer from a French team.

Jantjies last year extended his contract with the Johannesburg franchise until 31 October this year and is unlikely to leave before then.

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Photo: Anton Geyser/Gallo Images

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Dylan Jack