Their success as a Test combination suggests Percy Montgomery and Conrad Jantjes would thrive in a starting Stormers team.
Following Saturday’s defeat to the Crusaders, there have been conflicting reports concerning team selection. One sector claims Rassie Erasmus will retain the majority of his starting side, while another inferred that Wylie Human’s call-up meant the Western Province Vodacom Cup player would be fast-tracked to the run-on team.
All will be revealed on Wednesday when Erasmus names the match 22 tasked with toppling the Waratahs. It wouldn’t make sense for Erasmus to start Human, a player whose involvement with the Stormers has been non-existent in 2009. It would make sense to play Jantjes at 14 given the Bok fullback is fully fit, and given the Stormers are lacking quality options out wide.
The move would give the Stormers more kicking options at the back, and with that department of their game boosted, they could afford to restore the inside-back combinations that showed great promise in 2008.
Although the Stormers are right to prize territorial dominance, their failure to start Peter Grant at 10 is perplexing. The Bok flyhalf should be encouraged to vary his play, and in the earlier rounds showed an improvement in his kicking game. He was always the better attacking option when compared to Willem de Waal, and he was always the better option where decision-making was concerned.
Restoring Grant would allow Jean de Villiers and Gcobani Bobo to resume their midfield partnership. At the back, Sireli Naqelevuki would partner Jantjes and Montgomery in a well-balanced trio.
Jantjes has played wing for the Boks before, and has done so in conjunction with Montgomery. Speaking to keo.co.za, Jantjes said the Stormers’ back-three wouldn’t suffer if the coaching staff were to revisit this dynamic.
‘Monty and I have done it before at international level, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t work,’ he said. ‘It would help our kicking game to have two fullbacks in the starting team.’
Jantjes returned from a groin injury last weekend, albeit from the bench. He admitted the Stormers were off their game and that accuracy will be paramount when fronting the second-placed Waratahs in Sydney.
‘It’s a matter of taking the right options at the right time. Our kicking wasn’t great but there were other aspects that contributed. If you don’t have a good chase a good kick can go to waste. On the other hand, a good chase can make a bad kick look good,’ he said.
‘We’ve worked hard on our kicking this week, as we’re expecting them to kick on us quite a bit this Saturday.’
Prior to beating the Blues, the Waratahs were dubbed ‘boring’ by the Reds and also by certain members of the Australian press. Jantjes laughed off the suggestion, saying the well-structured Sydneysiders are as dangerous with ball in hand as they are with the boot.
‘I don’t agree with that. A good team is one that gets the points and gets the job done, so I don’t know how you can call them boring. They’re also the type of side that can turn it on in the latter stages, so call them boring at your peril.’
By Jon Cardinelli