Sharks, Stormers in line for Jantjies

Elton Jantjies is set to join the Sharks or Stormers on loan for the 2013 Super Rugby campaign, while WP and the Sharks have already snapped up other Lions’ stars.

Media reports on Tuesday suggested that the Stormers had already agreed terms to sign Jantjies on a loan deal. However, Lions CEO Ruben Moggee confirmed to this site that nothing has been finalised yet.

Confirmation will only be made after the Springboks’ Rugby Championship Test against the All Blacks in Soweto.

‘Elton has had several chats with different franchises,’ Moggee told keo.co.za. ‘From my understanding, he’s had chats with the Stormers, Sharks, Bulls and Kings.

‘However, the Lions and the player would want a franchise that will offer a decent amount of game time. When you consider the flyhalf situation at the different franchises, the Sharks or Stormers should be the likely destinations.’

The loan terms are simple.

Jantjies is still contracted as a Lions player until October 2013, but the Super Rugby clause in his deal allows him to feature for another team next season with the Johannesburg franchise relegated.

The team will have to pay the Springbok pivot’s salaries for the duration of his stay. That amount will be agreed between the player and interested party. So rumours of Jantjies having a R2.5 million asking price could be true.

The player will also have the final decision on where he wants to play, but the Lions will have the opportunity to pass on their advice to him.

The Stormers can offer Jantjies the No 10 jersey during the opening rounds of Super Rugby because of Peter Grant’s Japanese club commitments, Demetri Catrakilis’ departure to the Kings and injuries. However, Moggee believes the Sharks can also offer the 22-year-old starting opportunities.

‘Elton could start at the Stormers or the Sharks,’ said Moggee. ‘When it comes to the Stormers, their disadvantage is their defensive style of play. There are concerns whether Elton can fit into their game plan. They also have to explain their situation with Peter Grant. Yes, he could miss the opening rounds. But will he be first-choice when Peter Grant is ready to play again? Will he be preferred ahead of Elton?

‘The Sharks also have to discuss their plans. While they have Pat Lambie in their squad, they could decide to play him at fullback because that’s the position he’s playing for the Springboks. If they pick Pat at 15, then Elton will get game time at flyhalf.’

Meanwhile, SuperSport.com claims that Lions prop Pat Cilliers and flanker Michael Rhodes have signed for Western Province, while EWN reports that lock Franco van der Merwe has signed for the Sharks. Lionel Mapoe is set to be loaned out to the Bulls with Jaco Taute also having expressed his desire to play Super Rugby next year.

Moggee said loan deals can only be confirmed next week, once all the players have returned to the team base in Johannesburg after the final Rugby Championship Test and the Golden Lions’ Currie Cup clash against Griquas in Kimberley this Saturday.

‘We realise that our best players need to play at the highest level. And that is Super Rugby,’ said Moggee. ‘We are still planning to play in an alternative tournament with European, American and South Sea clubs next season, so we’ll need to have a competitive squad.

‘But we can afford to loan out a few of our best players to other Super Rugby franchises, if they can get starting opportunities. We won’t loan them out to be benched.

‘We will handle these cases individually. There are teams that have expressed their interests.’

By Gareth Duncan