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Lions: Give Elton a fair chance

Tue, 11 Mar 2014 08:04
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I know people are very critical
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Lions coach Johan Ackermann has come to the defence of under-fire Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies.

The wily Lions mentor admitted that they have a tough selection decision to make and are still pondering the question of who will start in the No.10 jersey in a Super Rugby Round Five encounter against the Blues at Ellis Park on Saturday.

However, he felt Jantjies, who played his first Super Rugby game in the 23-37 loss to the Sharks last week after off-season shoulder surgery, must be given a fair chance to regain his best form.

Jantjies, who only featured off the bench in a pre-season match with the Golden Lions Vodacom Cup team before starting against the Sharks, looked rusty and Ackermann conceded that he may not have been at his best.

However, the Lions are not going to rush into a decision about who will be their flyhalf this week or in the weeks to come.

"We are still debating that subject," Ackermann told this website in an interview, adding: "We will make that call later [in the week]."

The decision whether to play Marnitz Boshoff or give Jantjies a fair chance to prove himself in that position is one of the main discussion points this week.

"[We] as coaches, with Swys [de Bruin] on the attacking side [of the subject], are still discussing the issue," Ackermann said.

And whomever gets the No.10 jersey this week, may not keep it for very long.

"It depends how the player perform that is in that jersey," Ackermann told this website, when asked if they will stick to a specific combination going forward or keep on changing.

"If Bossie [Boshoff] plays well in the [No.10] jersey, he will make it tough for us."

The Lions had great success in the Currie Cup competition last year with Jantjies at flyhalf and Boshoff at fullback.

But Jantjies' current form has caused some concern.

"I know people are very critical about the performance of Elton," Ackermann said.

"However, in a week or two he could play very well - what do we do then?.

"That is why I say, a lot will depend on the form of the players.

"The players have to justify their selections."

By Jan de Koning

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