Jantjies pinned back by finger


That’s the word of his doctor who will today insert a pin into his right middle finger. Jantjies fractured the bone during the Lions’ Super Rugby win against the Jaguares at Ellis Park on Saturday.

He has been the hot favourite all season to wear the Springbok No 10 jersey in the three-Test series against Ireland.“The doctor who’ll do the operation says if all goes well and Elton heals quickly he could be ready to play in about two weeks time, in the week leading into the first Test,” said Lions boss Johan Ackermann on Tuesday night.

“It will, however, depend on how quickly the finger heals, but if he doesn’t train with the Boks next week and keeps the finger tightly strapped he could be back sooner than the three to four week estimate.”

Ackermann added Jantjies would almost definitely be ready for the second Test. “He deserves to play against Ireland. He’s been in great form and this really comes at a bad time for him, the Boks and the Lions. But I’m hopeful he’ll get a chance in June.

“I’ve had a chat to him and he seems quite positive... he said he would be fit and strong soon, so at least he’s in good spirits. The doctor’s given him a chance (to play in a few weeks time) and that’s all he wants.

”Everything of course depends on who Allister (Coetzee) selects in his first squad this weekend. Pat Lambie will now move to the front of the flyhalf queue, the Sharks skipper showing good form of late after also only recently returning from a long injury lay-off.

But with there being doubt about Jantjies’ availability from the off - Ackermann suggested on Monday he should not take any contact at all next week, if he were to be selected by Coetzee - the national coach may turn northwards to find the back-up for Lambie.

France-based veteran Morne Steyn is still available for the Boks, as is has been former Cheetahs man Johan Goosen, who’s also in that country. Goosen offers the new Bok coach more options as an utility back as he can play as a pivot, centre and fullback and may just be a surprise in Coetzee’s 31-man squad.

Locally, no other flyhalf springs to mind as being ready for Test rugby, with Jean-Luc du Plessis and Garth April the best of a young crop of promising No 10s.

Jantjies’ injury though isn’t only a blow to the Boks, but the Lions as well. Ackermann’s men have been in good form of late and face the Bulls in a big Super Rugby derby in Pretoria on Saturday.

And to make matters worse, the man who’d normally take over at flyhalf, Jaco van der Walt, is also injured. He hurt his posterior cruciate ligaments in his right knee on Saturday and will be out of action for six weeks, ruling out his chances of featuring for the SA ‘A’ side against the England Saxons next month.Now the Lions are looking for a new flyhalf and fullback for the Bulls clash.

“It’s a big blow for us,” said Ackermann. “Elton and Jaco have been exceptional. They were playing with confidence and I just hope their absence this weekend doesn’t affect our rhythm and momentum. The only good news is both of them should be fit and ready to play after the June break.”

Almost forgotten flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff is the favourite to wear the Lions No 10 at Loftus on Saturday, with rookie Shaun Reynolds his back-up. Sylvian Mahuza should hang on to the fullback position.In the only other injury concern for the Lions, prop Corne Fourie has a rib cartilage injury and will have to pass a late fitness test this week to be considered for the Loftus clash.

The Star

Original source: Jantjies pinned back by finger