Boks ‘need a running start to beat Pumas’
Flyhalf Elton Jantjies says first 20 minutes of Test will be crucial as it will not be easy against the Argentinians
Flyhalf Elton Jantjies says the first 20 minutes will be vital for the Springboks if they want to get their Rugby Championship campaign off to a winning start against Argentina on Saturday.
The Springbok pivot warned that if the Pumas got off to a fast start at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, their confidence would grow in what was expected to be a tight contest.
Jantjies’s boot, and his ability to keep the Springboks on the front foot, will be key against an Argentine side that will aim to unsettle the home side.
"We are going to have to have a good start against Argentina. If they have a good start, they then build confidence through that. The first 20 minutes will be key for us," Jantjies said.
The flyhalf was one of the stars when the Springboks cruised to a 3-0 series win over France in June and his form will have a major say in how SA fare in the Rugby Championship.
"It is all about ourselves on Saturday, so whatever plan we have in place, we must execute that well. They bring something different to the park because they are not a normal side. Argentina bring the unexpected thing like a quick throw or a tap and we will have to be alert."
In what could turn out to be a tight scoreboard game, Jantjies’s radar will have to be finely tuned. "With my goal kicking, it is about me trusting my body and technique," the pivot said.
"It is something that you put in a lot of work on, repeating the same routine the whole time. You just believe yourself when you kick and let it become an instinctive thing.
"There are obviously a few things I have been working on every day when training.
"Like making sure I make the right decision at the right time, whether it is in the attacking or defensive zone. So, I have challenged myself to make the right decisions and to create some space for my outside backs. I want to create for the guys inside and outside of me."
Jantjies said even a passionate 46,000 crowd would not win the Test for the Boks.
"Obviously, it’s nice to have a lot of support and having people behind you. But that does not win us the game. We are going to have to pitch up on Saturday and we will have to play for 80 minutes and it will not be easy against the Argentinians.
" We will be well prepared for Saturday. We had a good week last week and also building into the game this week as well.
"Argentina have got a good set piece and I think they will challenge us in the scrums and line-outs. Their first two phases on defence are also very good and we will have to be sharp in terms of our momentum."
It is still unclear who Jantjies’s back-up on the bench will be. With Handré Pollard still completing his final phase of rehabilitation, 20-year-old Curwin Bosch could be included on the bench.
Springbok assistant coach Franco Smith, however, was giving nothing away when asked about who would cover for Jantjies.
But he did say he had been extremely impressed with what he had seen so far from the young Sharks star.
"Curwin is still young and has a lot of further development, but what has really struck me is that he is extremely coachable and approachable.
"We know he has an extraordinary kicking game and is a real threat, but it’s important for him to be afforded the opportunity to find his feet at all levels of senior rugby," Smith said.
The Springbok team will be named on Thursday.