Jantjies favourite to be Bok flyhalf


Jantjies has impressed with his attacking play for the Lions in Super Rugby, and again masterminded the 43-5 victory over the Blues in a rain-soaked Ellis Park on Saturday.

His ability to create try-scoring opportunities with his accurate passing and chips over the top of the defence have been hallmarks of his play in 2016, and makes him the likely choice at No 10 when Allister Coetzee announces his team for the first Test against Ireland at Newlands on June 11.

But his goal-kicking has been erratic at best, despite being third on the leading points-scorers' list in Super Rugby with 119. He is just three points behind the Hurricanes flyhalf Beauden Barrett and one adrift of Chiefs fullback Damian McKenzie.

However, having slotted 26 conversions and 18 penalties in total, Jantjies has missed 17 attempts at goal, which gives him 44 out of 61, an average of only 72 percent.

While Barrett tops both missed lists, what is concerning for Springbok fans is Jantjies' record, as he is third on the most missed conversions and fifth on the most penalties missed. The 25-year-old pivot has often kicked high-pressure goals, and showed against the Blues that he can nail it from the touchline too in knocking over four conversions.

But he also missed two on the night, and his inconsistency is something that the Boks can't afford at Test level when they take on Ireland, who will have a sharp-shooter in Johnny Sexton in their ranks.

Sexton scored 16 points, through four penalties and two conversions for a 100 percent record, in producing a Man-of-the-Match performance in November 2014 when the Irish stunned the Boks 29-15 in Dublin in the last encounter between these two nations.

With last year's first-choice Bok flyhalf Handre Pollard out injured for the season, the only other experienced option that Coetzee could go with is Sharks captain Patrick Lambie, who made his return to the field two weeks ago after missing the first half of the season with a shoulder injury.

Lambie kicked beautifully and slotted the match-winning penalty for the Sharks against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires at the weekend. But New Zealand dominate most of the statistics in Super Rugby, and if one log had to be used for all 18 teams, the Crusaders, Chiefs, Highlanders and Hurricanes would occupy the top four positions, with the Lions and Stormers in fifth and sixth, and the Waratahs from Sydney in seventh.

The Crusaders (44), Chiefs (47) and Hurricanes (46) have scored the most tries this season, with the Lions fourth on 40. In contrast, the Southern Kings have conceded the most tries (62). The Stormers, though, have the best defence as they have given away just 18 tries in 10 matches. There is a surprise among the leading individual try-scorers, with Sunwolves wing Akihito Yamada on top with eight, followed by Cheetahs flyer Sergeal Petersen on seven.

Super Rugby leading point-scorers:

1 Beauden Barrett, Hurricanes 122

2 Damian McKenzie, Chiefs 120

3 Elton Jantjies, Lions 119

4 Lima Sopoaga, Highlanders 114

5 Richie Mo'unga, Crusaders 112

6 Ihaia West, Blues 110

7 Christian Lealiifano, Brumbies 108

8 Tusi Pisi, Sunwolves 95

9 Jack Debreczeni, Rebels 85

10 Jake McIntyre, Reds 80

Super Rugby leading try-scorers:

1 Akihito Yamada, Sunwolves 8

2 Sergeal Petersen, Cheetahs 7

3 Lionel Mapoe, Lions 7

4 Damian McKenzie, Chiefs 7

5 Reece Hodge, Rebels 6

6 Matt Faddes, Highlanders 6

7 Joseph Tomane, Brumbies 6

8 Israel Folau, Waratahs 6

9 Jone Macilai-Tori, Crusaders 5

10 James Lowe, Chiefs 5

Super Rugby leading try-scoring teams:

1 Chiefs 47

2 Hurricanes 46

3 Crusaders 44

4 Lions 40

5 Cheetahs 38

6 Brumbies 35

7 Highlanders 34

African News Agency

Original source: Jantjies favourite to be Bok flyhalf