With a month to go before this year’s new-look and larger Super Rugby competition kicks off, it’s still anyone’s guess who’ll don the red-andwhite No10 jersey in the coming months.
In fact, Ackermann has this sort of headache across his side. For the first time in years, the Lions will go into the competition with quality depth in just about every department.
But it’s the flyhalf position that is generating most interest – will it be Currie Cup star Boshoff or Jantjies, who’s just returned to Joburg after a second spell in Japanese club rugby?
Jantjies should start as the first-choice man after his excellent campaign in helping the Lions to their best-ever showing in Super Rugby last year, but one cannot ignore what Boshoff again did in the Currie Cup, helping his team to the title in a competition that the Lions dominated.
“I don’t see it as competition (between himself and Boshoff); he’s good for the squad,” said Jantjies this week.
“For me, it’s about competing against myself, about doing what’s best for the team. My focus is on my job, and how I can benefit the team.
“I don’t see (competition for places) as an individual thing. When you’re a junior you see it as individual against individual, but now it’s all about the team.
“I’ve also grown as a player and I want to focus on my leadership of the team and where I can help other teammates to perform every Saturday.”
One of Jantjies’ goals last year was to get into the Springbok World Cup squad, but having failed to do so after then-coach Heyneke Meyer preferred Handré Pollard, Pat Lambie and Morné Steyn to go to England, he now wants to achieve that goal this season.
And, with a new national coach coming into the job this year, he may just have a chance of doing so.
“It’s a big season for me,” he said.
“I’ve got my goals. One thing I didn’t achieve was going to the World Cup, but I’ve left that behind me. It is something I have to reach in future and I want to try and make sure I get my spot in the team.
“My motto is the same as it was last year … whatever I do on the field will determine where I play (Boks).
“I want to have the same mentality as a year ago, have continuity and consistency in my game and make sure the Lions, as a group, get good results.
“If that happens then obviously it will benefit us as individuals to get into the Bok squad. The key is you still have to perform each week, reach your goals, then hopefully make it.”
The attacking No10, who is only 25, says his stint with the NTT Shining Arcs in the Japanese Top League has helped develop his game immeasurably. “Most definitely … after going there last year I’ve taken a step up in my decision-making and fitness. It’s a quick game in Japan and you don’t have a lot of time to make decisions, as in Super Rugby, but I’ve learnt to make better decisions since playing in Japan. Hopefully that will benefit the Lions in the coming weeks.”
The Lions play three pre-season matches over the next three weeks before kicking off their Super Rugby campaign against the Sunwolves in Tokyo on February 27.
Original source: Lions’ flyhalf poser