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Why Elton is getting another shot

Wed, 06 Mar 2013 20:39
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It is never an easy call
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Stormers coach Allister Coetzee would much rather play players into form, than 'bench' them back to their best.

Coetzee, who gave his players a vote of confidence by resisting changes to the team to face the Chiefs at Newlands on Saturday, admitted it was not an easy call to make between Springbok flyhalves Elton Jantjies and Peter Grant.

"For us it is important to keep backing the players," Coetzee told a media briefing at the team's training base in Bellville.

"They made mistakes and have learned from that," the coach said, adding: "I said last week it was a big improvement. I don't see any reason at this point in time [to change], if you don't have players that will improve the situation.

"They have learned from it and hopefully this weekend they will show a big improvement."

Jantjies, who has been relieved of the place-kicking duties in order concentrate on his tactical and out-of-hand kicking, is making "good" progress with his general form.

Coetzee also felt Grant was not quite ready to start a match at this level.

"It is never an easy call, you have two fantastic flyhalves," Coetzee said, when asked about naming Jantjies ahead of Grant.

"What is important here is whether Peter [Grant] is 100 percent [ready] to play 80 minutes," the coach said, adding: "Peter has settled in now, it is week two with us.

"Going forward, Peter will play an immense role in this team.

"Elton also improved from the previous game. With the responsibility of only the tactical kicking and the kicking out-of-hand - having given the goal-kicking duties to Joe Pietersen - he [Jantjies] has played very well and hopefully we can see even more progress this weekend."

Coetzee said the decision to play Grant off the bench is twofold. He is still busy integrating into then team and his conditioning is also an issue.

"Peter didn't play a lot of rugby in Japan in the last few months. Should he have to play early in the game he will, but we might not get the same result from Peter Grant. I also don't want Peter to be in a situation where he is not comfortable himself yet.

"It is about making sure what is best for the team at the moment."

The Stormers coach also pointed out that circumstances at the Lions, when Jantjies was first-choice goal-kicker, was very different.

"If you give him [the goal-kicking] again, then you can knock him [his confidence] completely.

"[Also], if you sit with another player who is an 80 percent or 90 percent kicker, in the team, then it is bad if you give it to a guy who did worse than him last year. In all fairness, he [Jantjies] kicked for the Lions under completely different circumstances.

"There's a lot of pressure and a lot of expectation [at the Stormers] - it is like blooding a young player, one had to get the timing right."

He said the best way to help Jantjies is to give him a chance to play.

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