MARK KEOHANE writes Jaco Taute wants to specialise as a fullback and Elton Jantjies must be the Stormers first-choice flyhalf.
If Taute doesn’t start at 15 and Jantjies is not given the responsibility at 10, then what was the point of luring them to the Cape for this season’s Super Rugby challenge?
Taute is still contracted to the Lions but because the Lions are not playing in the 2013 Super Rugby competition he is among 14 of last year’s Lions playing for another South African franchise this year.
Taute made his Springbok debut at outside centre, but it is fullback that is his best position and what motivated him accepting the offer from the Stormers was to play at fullback in a back three of Gio Aplon and Bryan Habana.
Taute and Lions and Bok team-mate Elton Jantjies are expected to add a dimension to the Stormers attacking game, which has been constantly condemned in the past three seasons as being too one-dimensional. The Stormers won 82% of their matches in last season’s league stages but lost at home in the semi-final for the second successive season. In 2011 the Crusaders were comfortable winners against a Stormers team that had also dropped few games and boasted the best defensive record in the competition’s history.
Defence has taken the Stormers close in the last two seasons but the lack of an attacking game has meant that close is as good as nothing.
Western Province, in the Currie Cup, employed a far more attacking game and Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has said that elements of the Province style would be incorporated into the Stormers’ play this season.
Coetzee remains a realist and is practical that the primary focus remains winning the game and getting four league points. He however acknowledges the impact players like Taute and Jantjies will have on the squad.
Taute’s versatility, in that he can play wing, midfield and even at flyhalf, helps any squad but Coetzee also sees his greatest value at fullback.
Jantjies must start at flyhalf for the Stormers with the more seasoned Peter Grant his back-up.
Jantjies has been stuffed around at international level but his form in Super Rugby last season was very good and he needs game time at the Stormers. He is a greater long-term investment than Grant, who plays in Japan during the Currie Cup season.
Grant will be a perfect foil for Jantjies but it is Jantjies who has to get the preferential treatment this season and playing in the more competitive and successful colours of the Stormers will also improve his national aspirations.