The young Jean-Luc du Plessis made a good impression in his run-on Super Rugby debut for the Stormers last Friday, while Elton Jantjies has been South Africa’s premier pivot in the tournament so far.
It’s difficult to compare the two at this stage as Du Plessis is basically still a rookie. But the 21-year-old does have the potential to be the next great Stormers No 10. Jantjies, though, is on course to be the Springbok flyhalf for the June Tests against Ireland. We take a look at how they shape up.
Jean-Luc du Plessis
Has got a silky pass, especially the weight of his delivery. He set up two tries last week against the Sunwolves by summing up the situation before accurately executing.
The great thing about his passing is that he can either zip the ball in front of the opposition defenders or float it out wide, like he did for Kobus van Wyk’s five-pointer last week.
There was that moment of magic last Friday night that had the Newlands faithful sitting up straight. It was a little chip with the outside of his foot. It was executed with the authority of a seasoned pro.
We really haven’t seen a lot of Du Plessis yet, but he looks like a footballer who has the confidence to try new things. He will have to try plenty of those little chips in behind the Lions.
Breaking the line
This is maybe not the greatest strength of his game, as he isn’t the biggest player on the planet. However, he does have a big heart and carries the ball to the line hard. But with a little more game time, he will gain enough confidence and will become a lot more dangerous on attack.
Damian de Allende on Du Plessis
“I think he is a brilliant player with good skill. What is nice is that he hasn’t been boxed in and he has been allowed to express himself on the field and that is important to note. So he is playing like his personality.”
He is renowned more for his short passes than his long ones. But because he takes the ball up flat and in two hands, he bamboozles defenders with his sleight of hand on the advantage line.
He has the tools to give those wide passes, but he doesn’t execute them as well as his short offloads.
That left boot has the ability to be majestic and terrible in a matter of minutes. When his attacking kicks are good, they are sublime. Like a great golf player, his judgment of the distance of his kicks is fantastic.
However, when he is bad, he is really bad. This is a part of his game that needs a lot more consistency.
Breaking the line
Jantjies is a lot stronger than he looks. He accelerates nicely into a gap, which allows him to either break the line and run, or offload in the tackle.
It does help that he takes the ball super-flat, because the tactic of people running off his shoulders also creates chaos for the defending team.
De Allende on Jantjies
“He is playing very good rugby and I have a lot of respect for him. When he gets on the front foot he can be devastating. Defending against Elton, it’s obviously quite tough, especially if a guy has good skill and has players running off him and coming off short lines and stuff.”
Original source: Elton vs Jean-Luc: How the No 10s shape up