Rassie Erasmus has heaped praise on Herschel Jantjies after the scrumhalf’s man-of-the-match performance against Australia. JON CARDINELLI reports.
The Boks scored five tries in their 35-17 win over the Wallabies at Ellis Park on Saturday. Jantjies, starting in his first game for South Africa, scored a brace and made some key contributions with the boot and on defence.
‘You don’t want to praise a guy too much, but you can’t do other than praise him after the way he played,’ Erasmus said afterwards.
‘If you look at where he was in the Currie Cup last year, and to see him in Test match rugby now … his service, his box kicks, the technical things and the grit on defence, as well as the way he attacked … it was just awesome.
‘Hopefully he can just grow from here. The confidence is certainly high. The opposition will just be tougher and tougher as we get closer to the World Cup. But it’s a great start from him and he can be very proud.’
While the Bok coach was happy with some of the individual performances, he admitted that the side lacked cohesion at times.
That was to be expected, though, given so many first-choice players were missing and Erasmus opted to field several brand-new combinations at Ellis Park.
‘We know that this was not a world-class performance. Not even close. The way we played today won’t get us into World Cup playoffs.
‘We expected that with the team we picked. The big takeaway was the performance of individuals.’
Erasmus said that the squad will comprise 34 or 35 players by the time everybody has arrived in New Zealand. The Boks will face the All Blacks in Wellington next week.
‘Thirteen players are already in New Zealand,’ he said. ‘Eight more will fly tonight with the coaches. More will fly on Sunday.
‘The players already there will know that they will probably be in the match 23. There are no guarantees that they will start.
‘Some of the guys who fly tonight might start. Some of the guys who travel on Sunday might be on the bench.
‘We’ll sit on the plane and do our selections and analysis. At least the bulk of next week’s team is used to that time zone and are acclimatised. A few guys who played well tonight will make us think.’
Photo: EPA/Kim Ludbrook