Herschel Jantjies’ selection for the Springboks against Argentina this coming Saturday affords the out-of-favour scrumhalf one last chance to earn himself a ticket to the Rugby World Cup.
The Springboks’ 33-man squad for the 2023 Rugby World Cup will be announces on Tuesday, 8 August. But before then, several fringe players who are yet to pencil their names onto the Springboks team-sheet will have final shot at convincing the Springbok selectors of the value they’d bring to the team’s World Cup campaign in France.
FROM DYNAMITE TO DOWNFALL
One such player is Herschel Jantjies. After his meteoric rise into the Springboks team in 2019 which culminated in him bagging a World Cup winners medal, the scrumhalf’s form has dipped and because it coincided with the ascent of the likes of Jaden Hendrikse and Grant Williams, his Test career has plummeted as a result.
The 27-year-old last featured for the Springboks a year ago, when South Africa lost 35-23 to the All Blacks at Ellis Park. And while he has been in camp with the squad many a times between then and now, the game-time has been hard to come by for him.
CHANCE TO REIGNITE SPRINGBOKS CAREER
Cobus Reinach will start at No 9, which means Jantjies will get roughly 20 minutes in the second half to make his case for RWC selection. Whether or not that is enough time to force one’s way into World Cup team is a debate for another day, but that’s what Jantjies will get and he has to make the most of it.
On aspect of his game that needs improvement is his tactical kicking. Jantjies has to prove he consists on the ability to help his flyhalves in terms of accurately executing the Springboks’ kicking game plans.
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Jacques Nienaber and co will have to scale down from five scrumhalves to three. Of those three spot, one is going to Faf de Klerk, meaning Jantjies, Reinach, Williams and Hendrikse are fighting for the two remaining places.
And as it stands — based on form and game-time — Jantjies is last in line. That can all change for him, though, if he has a blinder against Los Pumas in Buenos Aires.