Sharks coach Gary Gold believes that the Springboks have a ready-made replacement in Elton Jantjies for the injured flyhalf duo of Pat Lambie and Handre Pollard following his pivotal role in the Lions’ convincing 24-9 victory in their SuperRugby match in Durban at the weekend.
“Sometimes we mustn’t be afraid to say that we lost to a better team. The Lions defended very well, they kept us out despite wave after wave of attack and I thought Elton Jantjies was outstanding, he controlled the game very well.
“Elton is more than deserving of the Springbok flyhalf position. Pat Lambie and Handre Pollard are both out, which is not great for South African rugby, but there’s no way Elton would let you down. He’s cool, calm and composed and kicks his goals well. I think he’s outstanding,” Gold said.
With the Sharks being tryless, questions were once again asked about the attacking ambition of the team, but Gold said his side have played with intent.
“The game plan is okay, but we must just execute better. The guys came out and showed intent and I was proud of that. If we had taken that opportunity in the first five minutes, after a really good wave of attack, then who knows what might have happened?
“Sometimes we were attacking from the wrong areas and the penalty count against us was very high, which makes it very difficult. We looked quite good through the phases, especially off the lineout, but we were not able to launch off the scrum, where the Lions kept getting the ascendancy. The back three are getting enough ball, but whether it’s in the right areas is another story and we don’t do enough with it,” Gold said.
The director of rugby confirmed that flank Marcell Coetzee, who has been in brilliant form, has been ruled out of their tour to New Zealand due to a serious knee injury suffered against the Lions.
“We have certainly been written off before the tour, so it will be a great test of character. The guys will have to man up and take on the challenge, but it will be a fun challenge. We have got to right the wrongs of the last few weeks, but there have been many weeks of rights before that,” Gold said.