Jantjies has become something of a super sub having injected intent and direction into the Springbok attack
He has been a stand-out general in Super Rugby and was crucial in the Lions three consecutive Super Rugby final appearances.
But somehow Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies has struggled to take that same form into international rugby.
Whatever the reasons are for Jantjies indifferent form in the Springbok jumper, there is a collective desire amongst many for Jantjies to fulfill the promise of his talents and be that dominating flyhalf at international level.
Staking his claim
While Jantjies waits in the queue behind incumbent Springbok flyhalf Handré Pollard, the Lions man is quietly taking his fate into his own hands and staking his claim in the team with some assured performances off the bench.
In fact, Jantjies has become something of a super sub having injected intent and direction into the Springbok attack when coming off the bench in the Springboks memorable win against the All Blacks in Wellington this year.
In that game, Jantjies played like he belonged at that level and the manner in which the game was unfolding was playing to his strengths as he took the ball on the front foot and gave players on his outside space and time to do their thing.
Since then Jantjies has made it hard for Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus to leave him out of the match day 23 and there might be some temptation to start with him at times with Pollard moving to inside centre where he has also impressed when playing next to Jantjies.
And Jantjies’ accurate kicking at poles enhanced his value to the side in last weekend’s 26-20 win against Scotland as he slotted over the last penalty after Pollard had missed two elementary penalties.
It also helped the fact that Jantjies played with a like-minded scrumhalf in Embrose Papier who is always probing for space to exploit and is the perfect fit for the running game.
As things seem to be falling into place for Jantjies, the Springboks and Erasmus; thoughts of starting with Jantjies must surely be playing mind games with Erasmus.
It is not difficult to entertain a starting halfback combination of Papier and Jantjies with Pollard at inside centre.
Having Jantjies and Pollard next to each other not only adds weight to the Springboks attacking options but it provides for a perfect combination of a left footed (Jantjies) and right footed (Pollard) player whenever the kicking game is required.
The fact that the duo are more than competent with their goal-kicking eliminates the reliance on one kicker and having to replace one with the other if one is having a bad day.
Starting with Jantjies in the last Test of the tour against Wales on Saturday could just be the ace up their sleeve that the Springboks need to finally slay the Welsh dragon.
But at the same time, Jantjies is lethal coming off the bench and has the ability to take the game away from the opposition.
Super sub or super starter, Jantjies is not just making it difficult for opposition teams but also for Erasmus to select his team.