Ackermann: Elton does have BMT
IN THE SUPER RUGBY SPOTLIGHT: Elton Jantjies may not be everybody's cup of tea, but he is a match-winner for the Lions.
This is the view of Lions coach Johan Ackermann, who dismissed the notion of the naysayers that suggest the 26-tear-old Springbok flyhalf does not have 'big match temperament'.
Jantjies, with over 170 first class games to his credit, including 11 Tests, is fast regaining his best form - following the horrible slump when he was called up for Bok duty in 2016.
The Lions No.10 is second on Super Rugby's points scorers list - with 96 points from 11 penalties, 25 conversions, one drop-goal and two tries.
One of those tries was a crucial five-pointer after the full-time hooter that earned his team a bonus-point win against the Western Force last week.
And his 82 percent success rate is third on the goal-kicking stats.
Not surprising then that the Lions coach, Ackermann, is singing his praises.
"We are very happy with how the season is panning out, and in particular with Elton [Jantjies]," Ackermann said in an interview building up towards the second match of their Australian tour - against the Rebels in Melbourne on Saturday.
"There were a number of games in which his kicks were crucial to keep us ahead and put pressure on the opposition," the coach said.
"We are very grateful for that [Jantjies' form].
"I feel he has always had that calmness about him. I know there are people who are of the opinion that he struggles in the big games [lacks BMT].
"We certainly don't doubt him.
"We know he is a match-winner and will always give his best."
Ackermann says the Bok pivot has grown a lot as a player this year, as well as a leader in the team and as decision-maker for the Lions.
"There are always aspects [of his game] to work on," he said, adding: "Be that a better kick for touch or better tactical kicking.
"However, the one thing that Elton is not in short supply of is discipline when it comes to doing the extras.
"He is the guy who always, after practice, stays on to do some extra kicking [practice].
"I am happy for him that he reaps the rewards on the field.
"Yes, you have to give the forwards the credit, as they set a solid base for him, but when it comes to his personal responsibility he puts in the hard work.
"We are grateful for that [his form], but we have to continue working hard."
Ackermann said there are still a lot of work to be done this year and the Lions have not achieved much as a team or individuals.
"That is why we are glad that everything is still in our own hands.
"The same applies to Elton. He has to continue his growth and work hard.
"Hopefully not just he, but also the team, will benefit later this year."