Coach says Jantjes was the man

PUBLISHED: January 22, 2007

Conrad Jantjes on Saturday proved he could be a big asset for the Vodacom Stormers in this year’s Vodacom Super 14.

The former Springbok fullback and wing was in fine form and scored an astonishing try in the last warm-up game against Boland in Paarl.

Jantjes showed good pace and strength as he spun out of two tackles and had enough leg power to touch down despite the attention of two tacklers.

The 26-year-old set the tongues wagging and afterwards received a vote of confidence from coach Kobus van der Merwe.

“Conrad played brilliantly. In fact, he was our best player on the day,” enthused the coach, who added that he was happy with the way the back three performed.

Breyton Paulse was on the other wing and the devastating attacker Gio Aplon at fullback. “They feed well off one another and combines well. Then we also have Egon Seconds, who is looking fantastic at the moment.

“Egon will be ready to train this week after he suffered a hamstring injury.”

Jantjes missed six months of last season due to an Achilles tendon problem, but on Saturday proved to his detractors that he is still a force to be reckoned with.

Van der Merwe said Saturday’s game against Boland in Paarl was good preparation for the Vodacom Super 14. “Thy did all the talking before the match and we did all the playing on the field.

“We knew it was going to be tough, but our guys were mentally very well prepared for the match.”

The coach lauded his side for the eight tries they scored. “The play from turnover possession was great. The guys attacked the spaces brilliantly and also offloaded well in contact situations.

Van der Merwe heaped praise on his forwards too and said forwards coach Jerome Paarward should get credit for the hard work he put in with the tight five.

“Our scrums and lineouts were outstanding and we didn’t lose one ball on our throw in the lineouts. The scrums were good and (referee) Craig Joubert complimented the guys afterwards and said he could see we gave a lot of attention to it.”

Asked which of the Boland players put up their hands for inclusion in the Stormers squad, Van der Merwe said no one in particular stood out. “I don’t think one of their players performed so outstandingly that we should include them in the squad.”

Van der Merwe said he already obtained footage of the warm-up games of the Cheetahs – the Stormers first opponent in this year’s Super 14 series.

He added that Cheetahs coach Rassie Erasmus’ cousin filmed the Stormers game in Paarl on Saturday and that his team now would have to fine-tune a few things before their clash.