Jantjies has earned Bok shot

Angus Opperman

Herschel Jantjies deserves to join the Springboks at the World Cup in Japan later this year. At the start of this season, coach Rassie Erasmus issued a clear message to all players: Perform in Super Rugby and you’ll be in contention for World Cup selection.

Jantjies, a product of Paul Roos Gimnasium, has caught the eye in his first season as a regular Super Rugby starter, having made his Stormers debut at the end of the 2018 campaign prior to a stellar Currie Cup season. An injury to Jano Vermaak in round one against the Bulls in Pretoria promoted Jantjies into the Stormers’ starting XV, a milestone he marked by scoring the winning try against the Lions.

The 23-year-old has continued to shine in his role with consistent performances in a side that has blown hot and cold all season.

Jantjies came through the Western Province junior ranks, won the 2017 Supersport Challenge trophy and was instrumental in UWC’s successful 2018 Varsity Shield campaign. He also made a one-off appearance for the Scarlets in the Pro14 when they toured South Africa in 2017.

In 2018 there was a lot of debate around the lack of quality scrumhalves in South Africa and Erasmus opted to go with Sale Sharks halfback, Faf de Klerk. The Bulls duo of Ivan van Zyl and Embrose Papier served as backup options.

This season, Jantjies has outplayed both Van Zyl and Papier. If Erasmus remains true to his word, Jantjies deserves a place in the Bok squad.

The signs suggest that he is on the radar – the Stormers halfback has been invited to a Bok planning camp. Ideally, he will get a run in the shortened Rugby Championship and in the friendly against Argentina.

This will provide Jantjies with an opportunity to prove that he is ready for Test rugby, and capable of being an important addition to the Bok squad in a World Cup year, like Nehe Milner-Skudder was for the All Blacks in 2015.

Even if Jantjies doesn’t make the cut, the experience gained from measuring himself against Test players will be of great value in 2020 when the Boks will be spoilt for choice with talented young scrumhalves who ply their trade in South Africa building towards 2023.

Jantjies certainly has the talent to become a great player, he’s got a solid pass, provides quick service and doesn’t shy away from his defensive duties.

There are aspects he still needs to work on, such as his kicking game, but one thing he possesses is the ability to see space and exploit it as we have seen with his darting snipes and breaks throughout the course of the season.

The Springboks have been searching for someone in SA to emerge as a dynamic challenger to De Klerk and, with a bit of work and proper coaching, they may have found the answer in Herschel Jantjies.

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Follow Angus on Twitter: @AngyboyJ

- Angus Opperman

Let's chat

  • Barry

    For Pete’s sake, if you’re going to plug for a player then at least do some home work! This is a repeat of an article penned by Gavin Rich a few days ago and neither have any supporting facts!

    In the Crusaders game, he passed the ball 64 times and made a total of “three” breaks in 80 minutes of rugby. Now how predictable is that?

    You say doesn’t shy away from defense!!! Well he made one tackle in the Crusaders game and missed three!!!

    By your own admission, he needs to work on his kicking game, the stats tell us that he is very predictable and that his defense is shocking, so please tell us how it is that he should be in the Springbok squad?

    • John Comyn

      Oh I thought you said pick form players??

      • Barry

        Read the stats John, let them sink in, then perhaps comment!

        He’s a young guy with promise, but that’s it for the moment. Your backline has not fired all season, maybe consider why not!

    • boyo

      If you play for WP you deserve a bok shot. The great Ruhan Nel even got one now this year they want Leyds and Jantjies.

  • John Comyn

    There is no way on earth Rassie can select a player in his 1st year in SR to play in the WC. He has shown he MIGHT be a good prospect in future but he has a very long way to go before he is a Bok! Don’t read to much into the players planning camp. Rassie often invites youngsters with potential with no other reason other than giving them some exposure. keep it real Angus!

    • Barry

      Ah some sense, the day is improving!

  • Nick

    The problem is Papier and Van Zyl as back ups. They both hardly play and they both play for the Bulls. Is this a cunning plan or a misfire selection?

    It seems that the 3rd choice Bulls 9 is now in favour and no 1 at the Bulls, probably deservedly too. Outside of Faf it would seem we need to look elsehere, abroad or locally.

  • John Comyn

    Province would hire either of them at the drop of a hat. Justin Phillips is a serious liability.

  • Whynger

    Jantjies deserves a shot, because he is exactly the type of scrumhalf South African coaches (including Rassie) prefer. Slow and predictable. Why do you think Pote prefers Van Zyl over Papier and Du Preez Schreuder over Wright? (I still don’t understand why the Sharks let Ungerer go). Jantjies always seems to search for his receiver only after his arrival at the breakdown, sometimes even after he had put hands to ball. There is no danger of him emulating Faf de Klerk’s clearing speed.

    I have no idea why our coaches seem to want to reset the game at every breakdown. Do they feel they have more control that way? I think they all suffer from the Heynecke Meyer perception. They believe South African back line players are incapable of playing a fast game. Therefore you need a box kicking scrumhalf. To aid this strategy, every breakdown has to be turned into a set piece.

    • Chris Koch

      Faf showed how to pressure the AB back line in the RC last year by keeping the 9 under huge pressure.
      The 1014 rugby youtube channel had a vid posted last year that presented the theory that if you can keep Aaron Smith from clearing in under 3 seconds, their backline atack falls flat.

      Most of SA’s 9’s will do the same for you on their own.

  • Nick

    Well put Whynger….It’s like our scrummies are TERRIFIED of any pace that gets generated around them.

    Also, why is it that so many of our 9’s are complete duffus’es when the ball does not come out neatly enough? It seems any non static ball is seen as avoidable. You would think that quick reflexes are synonymous with the position.

  • Nick

    I suppose if you have always played in an ‘elite’ team that wins nearly all of it’s games by 50 plus, you’re bound to have very little experience of handling pressure or playing on the backfoot.

  • Barry

    Why is it that we do not have articles about Cobus Reinach? Surely he is the obvious choice?

    He has just been nominated for player of year in the Uk and won the award for top try scorer this season. He is already a Springbok and is mature and currently playing out if his skin.

    Instead we get articles about players that are showing some promise and may be in the mix in a year or two!

    • Jay

      I have been asking the same question for a while now. I think he must have hurt someone at SA Rugby’s feelings as there is no valid reason for him not going to the WC

    • Jono

      Yep. Reinach is the obvious second scrummie, but he’s a little bit too pale, isn’t he?

      I’m sure the north hemisphere teams realise now that when they play the Springboks, they aren’t actually playing the best possible team cos of the political interference we have. I’m a saffa living in the UK and even the British guys I know who watch rugby here get annoyed about the quota system SA has. Just so unnecessary.

    • Dean Bright

      Agreed. Faf with Reinach as his backup is a no brainer. Papier probably the 3rd choice since he played quite well on the EOYT last year.

    • Whynger

      Very good question indeed!

  • Dean Bright

    Is this article saying that Jantjies can have same impact as the Skud-missile had for the AB’s in the last WC. Hmmmm that’s far fetched.

  • Herman

    Angus you’re far too optimistic about this young feller. Too many players these days are elevated to star status way before their time. A few sniping runs does not a Bok make. In fact in the dom krag Bok environment it may even be frowned upon, hehehe. He has too many shortcomings at this stage. But then again he is a Stormer and we all know Rassie’s preference for those underachievers. Cheers.

    • Barry

      Just rewatched the highlights of Alton Jantjies kindly passing the ball to Bosch so that he could score a try!

      Did you manage to catch the game?

  • Mark

    Clearly none of you clowns watched last nights game?

    • Barry

      Hello Mark, clown here!

      Most of the posts in this forum substantiate their views with some factual information. By contrast you contradict the views of the entire forum, but offer absolutely nothing to substantiate your thoughts, other than the fact that you watched the match, apparently!

      What you may want to consider is that in the entire 80 minutes, Jantjies recycled the ball 76 times, but only made “four” breaks!!! There was also an earth shattering “three” tackles made of which two missed!!

      Maybe give it a bit of thought Mark

  • Herman

    Simply put, it is far too soon for the lightie. If Rassie wants to gamble before the WC play him in the RC otherwise let him mature over time. A few other ‘rising stars’ have been pretty ordinary of late. Willemse with too much ball seems to lacking in vision and hesitant with ball in hand. Even Gelant is showing flaws. Problem is the more these guys play the more you see their weaknesses.

    I hate to be accused of backing a Lions player ( yeah right ) but Andries Coetzee has regained his form and is a very good all round player and rarely makes a mistake. With the Lions his attacking abilities come to the fore as well. Well worth another chance, even more so if Rassie sees the light and decides to give the ball air. Cheers.

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