Why Jantjies will get another run
Why Jantjies will get another runSHARE
The return from injury of Junior Springbok and Blue Bulls back Handré Pollard does not guarantee him a starting spot in the Currie Cup.
Pollard returned to training with his teammates on Monday, after an AC joint (shoulder) injury suffered at practice last month that kept him on the sidelines.
Fellow Baby Bok Tony Jantjies, who was a member of the victorious SA Under-20 squad in 2012, started in the Bulls' opening match of the Currie Cup season – a 24-all draw with defending champions Western Province at Newlands at the weekend.
Jantjies, who missed a penalty in the 72nd minute and a last-minute conversion kick from the touchline that could have won the game for the Bulls in Cape Town, was expected to make way for Pollard.
However, Bulls coach Pine Pienaar told this website that Jantjies deserves another chance.
Also, he felt the long lay-off means Pollard needs game time at a level below Currie Cup first.
The Bulls will play Griquas in what is likely to be a brutal Round Two encounter at Loftus Versfeld on Friday.
"He is returning from a lengthy lay-off and has been sidelined for six weeks," Pienaar said, when asked about Pollard's return.
"It is good to see he is back in the system," the Bulls coach told this website, adding: "We will work with him, but it is a short week this week, as we are playing [against Griquas at Loftus] on Friday."
Pienaar said he would first like to see Pollard get some game time with the Under-21 team, to "ease him back".
"If he performs well at the Under-21 team we will look at him for the Currie Cup team," the Bulls mentor said.
He also explained why Jantjies won't be discarded after just one Currie Cup game.
"I feel that apart from the [two] kicks that he missed [penalty in the 72nd minute and a conversion in the 80th minute] Tony Jantjies did not have a bad game," Pienaar said.
"I feel he deserves another start," he said, adding that they are looking to retain the same matchday 22 as far as possible.
"Handré [Pollard] is an outstanding player and did very well at the [IRB] Junior Championship, but this year he has played a bit more at No.12 [for the Baby Boks and at the Bulls and in the Varsity Cup] than at No.10.
"We would like to see him start at No.10 from the outset with the Under-21 team and settle there."
By Jan de Koning