No, don’t stop reading just yet. This is not another call for Heyneke Meyer to drop Morne Steyn and rather pick Pat Lambie at flyhalf for the Boks…. well, I guess actually it is exactly that, just in a more roundabout way!
Those of us watching the Lions beat Province this weekend will have sat up and taken notice – once again – of Elton Jantjies, who turned in a stellar performance to lead his somewhat out gunned (on paper) side to a narrow victory, in particular showing wonderful composure under pressure to kick the last-minute penalty that sealed the game. Jantjies had just been released from the Bok squad – where he’d still had absolutely zero game time – and had thus missed out on the first two rounds of Currie Cup action. Obviously itching to play, he turned in a stellar performance and a number of pundits are now calling for his inclusion at Steyn’s expense – and rightly so, I must add, based on form.
What a difference a single game can make, but the key point that’s being missed here, I feel, is that due to Meyer’s insistence on playing Morne Steyn for 80 minutes of every test on the one hand, while on the other hand trying his damnedest to keep Steyn’s direct competitors from playing Currie Cup (read Jantjies and, of course, Lambie), it’s becoming pretty damn difficult for anyone to put any pressure on the incumbent Bok flyhalf. You can’t impress the coach, in other words, if you’re not playing and while Jantjies has now shown the benefit that a good 80 minutes on the park can have, surely it’s time for Lambie to be afforded the same opportunity?
The Boks have an off week as the Rugby Championship takes an hiatus. While we know that Meyer will name his squad for the next leg on Tuesday, I sincerely hope that he allows certain fringe players – Lambie most importantly – the option of a getting Currie Cup game under their belt this weekend. Poor Patrick really is getting the smallest and most hindmost of suckling organs here, as both Steyn and now Jantjies are afforded the platform on which to showcase their wares, whilst Michaelhouse’s finest is left to accumulate a fine collection of unused Bok jerseys.Tweet