AUDIO: Jantjies ahead of Pollard 'the right thing to do'

Sat, 11 Nov 2017 00:01

LISTEN as coach Allister Coetzee explains why Elton Jantjies is a better option than Handré Pollard at flyhalf for the Springboks.

South Africa face Ireland in Dublin on Saturday in the opening match of their four-Test year-end your.

The big debate in the build-up was whether the highly-rated Pollard would start ahead of the much-maligned Jantjies.

Jantjies have started in all nine Tests this season, while Pollard was working his way back to fitness after two injury-riddled years of limited game time.

Pollard has made just two Test appearances - both off the bench and both against New Zealand. He played less than 40 minutes, with a knock to the head in the second Test against New Zealand forcing him off the field.

In his first media briefing of the week Coetzee hinted that Pollard could start ahead of Jantjies - who returned to the team from Japan only on Monday. The coach said Pollard was "looking good" in training.

According to Coetzee it counted against Jantjies that he was on duty with his club in Japan when the Boks trained in the lead-up to the tour.

Coetzee also pointed out that Jantjies would be leaving the squad after the third tour fixture against Italy.

The inference was that Pollard was set for a start at No.10, his first since the 2015 World Cup.

However, Thursday Coetzee named Jantjies in the No.10 jersey.

"When Elton joined us [this past Monday] you could see how he slotted in," the coach said.

"It went smoothly and it is the right thing to do.

"Again, continuity is a massive part of our plan going forward.

"Handré [Pollard] has trained excellently throughout the [Rugby] Championship. He hasn't had a lot of [game] time.

"[In the last Test] against New Zealand [at Newlands] we would have loved to see him play for 20 minutes, [but then] he had the knock to his head and couldn't complete the 20 minutes.

"Hopefully he will get his opportunity. He is ready to play.

"He must wait for the opportunity and they realise that.

"The competition in the group is really healthy and an added bonus."

Coetzee also defended the decision to play lock-cum-utility forward Pieter-Steph du Toit at the side of the scrum, rather than a specialist loose forward.

"Our back row has everything we need," he said, adding: "We have a line-out option in Pieter-Steph du Toit.

"He is a very explosive runner with the ball.

"Siya [Siyamthanda] Kolisi has been in outstanding form and as a carrier.

"Francois Louw at No.8, playing towards the ball, is very good at securing our ball at the breakdown.

"There is the added bonus of his pilfering, stealing ball on the ground.

"We felt against New Zealand [at Newlands] there is a great balance going."

Springbok captain, Eben Etzebeth, said his team is looking forward to test themselves against a very good Irish team.
 
"We know it's going to be a real tough Test but we are looking forward to resume our battle against the Irish,"the captain said.

"We had an unbelievable series last year in South Africa, but this time they are playing at home and with the advantage of a home crowd,” explains Etzebeth.
 
"They have some world class players in their team and they are very good at set-pieces and keeping possession. We know we will have to work extremely hard against a quality Irish side."

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