Flops: Rugby players who really let themselves and the country down in 2016 - Times LIVE
Sun May 28 22:24:09 SAST 2017

Flops: Rugby players who really let themselves and the country down in 2016

Craig Ray | 2017-01-01 12:41:13.0
Elton Jantjies. File photo.
Image by: Luke Walker/Gallo Images

There were a few world-class performers in South African rugby in 2016 but many players also disappointed.

Some were excellent in Super Rugby but poor at Test level.

We look at five players who underperformed this year.

1) Elton Jantjies (Lions and Springboks)

It was a tale of two seasons for the mercurial flyhalf.

For the Lions Jantjies was inspirational and often sparked their best attacking moves.

For the Springboks he was woeful‚ playing without any swagger and confidence.

He failed to tactically control any Test and by the end of the season‚ he was a shadow of the player that had looked supreme earlier in the year.

2) Faf de Klerk (Lions and Springboks)

The talented scrumhalf suffered much the same fate as Jantjies at Test level.

During Super Rugby his technical shortcomings were masked in a team playing with confidence‚ but at international level De Klerk’s service and ropey kicking game were exposed.

He has talent but when his confidence drained he was poor.

3) Teboho Mohoje (Cheetahs and Springboks)

After missing most of Super Rugby through injury‚ Mohoje was a surprise inclusion in the Rugby Championship squad.

In Nelspruit‚ against the Pumas‚ he delivered a great performance in the best traditions of bruising Bok blindside flanks.

But after a manic match in Buenos Aires a week later‚ in which he nearly felled several Pumas with high tackles‚ Mohoje’s form dipped.

He was almost invisible from then on and by the end of the season had lost his place completely.

4) Lood de Jager (Cheetahs and Springboks)

By his own admission he struggled during Super Rugby and by the time the Test season started‚ the 2015 SA Player of the Year was a shadow of the previous years’ player.

De Jager featured in most Tests in 2016‚ didn't have the same presence that made him so feared a year earlier.

He was less effective as a ball carrier and his high work rate also dropped. On a positive note‚ he seemed to be improving towards the end of the year.

5) Adriaan Strauss (Bulls and Springboks)

It’s hard to know why Strauss was so mediocre in 2016.

The burden of Bok leadership in a transitional year no doubt took its toll.

He made a surprise decision to quit Test rugby‚ three months after being appointed Bok captain‚ which further underlined his muddled mental state.

His performances on the field were lacklustre and uninspired for the most part and although he never gave less than everything‚ the magic of previous seasons was gone.

- TMG Digital


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