Why Lions coach expects Jantjies to find himself in heavy traffic
Lions coach Swys de Bruin fully expects Elton Jantjies to find himself in heavy traffic when his team plays the Reds on Saturday.
De Bruin anticipates Reds midfield wrecking ball Samu Kerevi to set course for Jantjies in the hope of breaching the Lions’ defence‚ or at the very least get them on the front foot.
De Bruin has a plan however.
The inside channel may be even further congested should De Bruin decide to shore up that area with the sturdy presence of Rohan Janse van Rensburg ahead of Lionel Mapoe‚ who is struggling with a niggle.
“Their No12 (Kerevi) in their best player and a very direct runner‚" De Bruin said.
"He will make cutbacks on Elton but Elton is a gusty player and he defends well. He’ll be ready for whoever runs at him in his channel. You can be sure of that.
“The Reds have a different approach with the No12 and their No8 very physical. They give you a lot more heat at the breakdown.”
De Bruin noted that Jantjies acquitted himself well on the few occasions the Waratahs’ blockbusting wing Taqele Naiyaravoro barrelled down at him in Sydney last Friday.
It is‚ however‚ Jantjies’ ability with ball in hand that defines him most.
He is the fulcrum of the backline and very little happens without his hand.
“The last five years I’ve been in charge of the attack (at the Lions) Elton has been the general‚" he said.
"He is in good form. His decision-making is good.
From an attacking perspective I am very happy with Elton. His decision making is good and he understands where to transfer pressure. That really helps the forwards.”
In Janse van Rensburg‚ Jantjies should have a sturdy wing man should the Reds’ heavy hitters come knocking.
He has started in just three matches in the No12 jersey this season with Harold Vorster and Lionel Mapoe operating mostly as the preferred duo.
As much as Kerevi is hoping to give his side some midfield punch‚ Janse van Rensburg has the capability to lend some thrust in the same area.
Quick second and third phase midfield ball will be most useful for the visitors.
The match is set for an afternoon kick-off which will place extra demands on the players given Brisbane’s at times stifling humidity. “It’s a bit further north than Durban so the humidity plays a part. The ball will be slippery. If you play in the evening it is almost like a different animal‚” said De Bruin.
The humidity is unlikely to alter the way the Lions go about their business. They have a full throttle approach and the urgency of their attack is reflected on the try scoring charts.
The Lions have scored 47 tries‚ 10 more than the next best Crusaders who played one game fewer.