The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - MIKE GREEN­AWAY

EL­TON Jan­tjies is a man of few words, so it is per­haps fit­ting that his coach speaks vol­umes about his per­for­mance against the French last week, while the 26-year-old fly­half chooses to say more by say­ing less.

“I think it says a lot that de­spite an up-and-down sea­son in the Bok jersey last year, El­ton is now part of our lead­er­ship group af­ter what we have seen in Su­per Rugby and how he has im­proved his man­age­ment of the game,” Coet­zee said.

“El­ton has played con­sis­tently well for the Lions this sea­son and they could not pos­si­bly be where they are in the com­pe­ti­tion with­out a fly­half in great form, and a year on af­ter the dis­ap­point­ment for all of us in 2016, El­ton is now show­ing that he is en­joy­ing the pres­sure of in­ter­na­tional rugby,” Coet­zee said.

“There is a dif­fer­ent kind of pres­sure in Test rugby and El­ton un­der­stands that now,” Coet­zee added.

Jan­tjies, ever re­luc­tant to talk, shyly said that he had set­tled down this sea­son in the Spring­bok team al­beit only a match into the in­ter­na­tional year, be­cause he was re­act­ing bet­ter to pres­sure.

“This year at the Boks in our train­ing camps, we have looked at fix­ing what hap­pened last year, and with the guys now buying into the way we want to play, it is eas­ier for me to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for mak­ing de­ci­sions,” Jan­tjies said. “While we are of course ex­pect­ing the for­wards to make the ball as quick as pos­si­ble, the fly­half can dic­tate play when the qual­ity pos­ses­sion is there and the guys out­side him know how we plan to at­tack.”

It has made it much eas­ier for Jan­tjies to have a game-mak­ing axis in fel­low Lions play­ers War­ren White­ley (No 8), Ross Cronje (9) and then out­side backs in An­dries Coet­zee, Court­nall Skosaan and now (in all prob­a­bil­ity) Lionel Mapoe at 13 (for in­jured Jesse Kriel), with the start­ing line-up to be named to­day.

“Ob­vi­ously, it makes it eas­ier for you when the play­ers ei­ther side of you are all speak­ing the same rugby lan­guage (that of the Lions),” Jan­tjies said. “It makes it eas­ier to pre­med­i­tate the calls be­cause each guy knows what you are go­ing to do.”

Jan­tjies said this year he felt more com­fort­able in the Bok set-up and was bet­ter used to the re­spon­si­bil­ity of be­com­ing a Bok.

“The same goes for our wings in Court­nall and Ray­mond Rhule. Both of them have walked a long road in the Spring­bok camp with­out nail­ing down start­ing po­si­tions, and I think you can see they are ready to do that. They are tak­ing the re­spon­si­bil­ity on their shoul­ders and em­brac­ing be­ing Spring­bok fin­ish­ers,” Jan­tjies said.

“Every­body knows we are look­ing to play with more width and while that is hope­fully go­ing to bring the wings more into the game, we have to be mind­ful that France know how we want to play, and are prob­a­bly go­ing to try and put the ball in be­hind us,” the fly­half added.

“We are go­ing to have to be tighter on de­fence around the fringes of the rucks and we have to box clever af­ter show­ing our hand last week,” Jan­tjies said. “They are wiser about us and we are wiser about how we must play against them last week.” ANEW BOK MAN: El­ton Jan­tjies had a fan­tas­tic out­ing in the first Test against France last week­end and will look to repli­cate that form on Satur­day again.

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