Jacques Nienaber says Elton Jantjies needs game time prior to World Cup

Jacques Nienaber says Elton Jantjies needs game time prior to World Cup

Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber has not ruled out veteran flyhalf Elton Jantjies pulling on the Green and Gold jersey again, as he hinted they need to give the No 10 some game time.

The Boks are gearing up for their final Rugby Championship match against Argentina at Ellis Park next weekend, with the Rugby World Cup fast approaching.

They will once again be without the services of World Cup-winning flyhalf Handre Pollard, who still hasn't recovered fully from a calf injury.

So far this season, the coaches have looked to Manie Libbok and Damian Willemse to fill Pollard's shoes, but Nienaber has not shut the door on a possible return for fellow World Cup winner Jantjies.

The 32-year-old last represented the Boks in August last year but was recalled for the Rugby Championship after Pollard re-injured the calf strain he sustained with Leicester Tigers.

Libbok started the first Test match of the year against Australia at flyhalf, with Willemse starting the second against New Zealand.

However, Nienaber says his fourth choice pivot needs match fitness in case he is needed for the Rugby World Cup later this year.

"We always said that Elton [Jantjies] was our fourth choice flyhalf," Nienaber said about the number 10, who is contracted to PROD2 side Agen in France.

"He can become our number three if Handre [Pollard] doesn't make it (back from injury in time).

"The key thing is Damian [Willemse], and Manie [Libbok] will get the majority of game-time, but Elton also needs it. He hasn't played for a long time, and we have to try and balance it as much as we can over the next couple of games.

"I don't think there are a lot of countries with four flyhalves available."

Another option in the squad is experienced fullback Willie Le Roux, who spent a large chunk of the Japan Rugby League One season playing flyhalf for the Steve Hansen-coached Toyota Verblitz.

"The funny thing is, if you go back and look at Willie's matches in Japan, he played more ten than 15 for Toyota," said Nienaber, with Springboks centre Jesse Kriel adding, "nearly every game".

The Bok boss added: "Willie [Le Roux] is definitely an option."

In 2019, the Springboks took Pollard and Jantjies to the World Cup, with Frans Steyn filling in as the emergency third-choice option at flyhalf.

Nienaber explained that Le Roux could fill the role that the now-retired Steyn did during the tournament.

"He's an option, much like what we did with Frans Steyn in the previous World Cup," said Nienaber.

"We only went with two number tens then in Elton and Handre, and then Frans was always our third choice to stand in if there were injuries.

"It will depend on if we go with two or three tens it is then that Willie becomes an excellent option to take over there."

The Springboks face Argentina in back-to-back Test matches, home and away before they depart for the UK.

There, they will face Wales in Cardiff and New Zealand at Twickenham before their opening Rugby World Cup fixture against Scotland.