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LionsThis is the 6th in the series of the Lions Squad Contenders for Super Rugby 2014. We do 2 articles per week per South African Super Rugby participating franchise.

We discuss the players IN the Super Rugby Group, and not all the options beyond that.

In this Article we look at the contenders for FLYHALVES in the Lions 2014 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.

 

 

The Contenders:

Name: Elton Thomas “Elton” Jantjies:

Position Flyhalf
Height 1.76m
Weight 88kg
Date of Birth 1 August 1990
Place of Birth Graaff Reinet
Provincial Debut 2011
Provincial Caps 42
Provincial Points 479
Super Rugby Debut 2011 for MTN Lions
Super Rugby Caps 39
Super Rugby Points 239
Test Debut 29 September 2012 in The Rugby Championship vs Wallabies
Test Caps 2 PLUS 1 Tour match
Test Points 6
Elton Jantjies

Elton Jantjies is a product of Mooirivier Primary School, Florida High School and University of Johannesburg.

He has received several significant sporting awards, including the SARU Young Player of the Year award (2010), and the SA U20 Player of the Year award (2010).

He was regarded as one of South Africa’s most promising rugby players.

At the Lions and Golden Lions Jantjies gained a reputation as being a clutch performer after he successfully converted every goal attempt in the 2011 Currie Cup final, a game in which the Golden Lions defeated the Sharks 42-16. This performance earned him the Man of the Match award.

Although Elton Jantjies made his Super Rugby debut in 2011 for the Lions, the Lions did not participate in Super Rugby in 2013, so he joined the DHL Stormers for the 2013 season on a loan deal, where he underperformed to alarming proportions.

He made his international rugby Test debut for the Springboks during The Rugby Championship against Australia on 29 September 2012, at Loftus Versfeld, however his debut for the Springboks came in a non-Test, uncapped game against the Barbarians in the 2010 end of year tours.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2006 – Lions – U16 Coca Cola Grant Khomo Week
  • 2007 – Lions – U18 Academy Week, Golden Lions - ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2008 – South Africa – SA Schhols, Lions – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week, Golden Lions – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2009 – Lions – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2010 – Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, South Africa – IRB Junior World Championships, Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Xerox Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Springboks – Outgoing Tours (played the Non-Test vs Barbarians)
  • 2011 – MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, MTN Lions – Vodacom Super Rugby, Springbok squad member – Castle Tri-Nations, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2012 – MTN Lions – Vodacom Super Rugby, Springbok squad member – Castle Incoming Tours, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Springboks – The Rugby Championship, Springboks – Castle Outgoing Tours
  • 2013 – DHL Stormers – Vodacom Super Rugby, MTN Lions – Super Rugby Promotion / Relegation, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

Elton seems to have regained some form after a disasterous season at the DHL Stormers, where everything went pear-shaped, from his goal kicking to general play, but one must also remember that his lost his father, who died, at the beginning of the 2013 season. He should be the regular starter at flyhalf, but may be hard pushed by Marnitz Boshoff for the starting berth.

 

Name: Marnitz Louis “Marnitz” Boshoff:

Position Flyhalf / Fullback
Height 1.79m
Weight 87kg
Date of Birth 11 January 1989
Place of Birth Nelspruit
Provincial Debut 2008 for Blue Bulls in Vodacom Cup
Provincial Caps 54
Provincial Points 355
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Marnitz Boshoff

Marnitz Boshoff is a product of Bergland Primary School, Nelspruit High School and University of Pretoria (Tuks).

He represented Mpumalanga in 2005 to 2007 at Under 16, and Under 18 levels and also made the SA Schools side in 2006 and 2007.

In 2007 he joined the Vodacom Blue Bulls and started representing them at Under 19 level. In 2008 he made his senior debut, representing the Blue Bulls in the Vodacom Cup, in addition to representing the Blue Bulls in the Under 19 and Under 21 Comptitions.

He also represented Tuks at the Varsity Cup in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

In 2009, 2010 and 2011 he went on to represent the Vodacom Blue Bulls senior side in the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division.

Marnitz then joined Griquas in 2012 and a year later joined the Golden Lions in all their competitions. 2013 was a specially revealing and highlighted year for Marnitz, so much so that I consider him better than Elton Jantjies for a starting berth at flyhalf, something which he will no doubt be aspiring to.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2005 – Mpumalanga – U16 Coca Cola Grant Khomo Week
  • 2006 – South Africa – SA Schools B, Mpumalanga – U18 Coca Cola Craven Week
  • 2007 – Pumas – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week, South Africa – SA Schools, Vodacom Blue Bulls - ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2008 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2009 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Tuks – Varsity Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2010 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition, Tuks – Varsity Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2011 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Tuks – Varsity Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2012 – GWK Griquas – Vodacom Cup, GWK Griquas – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – MTN Lions – Lions Challenge, MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, MTN Lions – Super Rugby Promotion / Relegation, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

Marnitz has lots of talent and if he could build on the markers he has set in 2013, he could usurp Elton Jantjies and also provide a viable alternative for possible Springbok flyhalf.

 

Name: Willem Nicolaas Frederik “Willie” du Plessis:

Position Flyhalf
Height 1.85m
Weight 91kg
Date of Birth 5 June 1990
Place of Birth Pretoria
Provincial Debut 2012 for Blue Bulls vs Valke in Vodacom Cup
Provincial Caps 16
Provincial Points 88
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Willie du Plessis

Willie du Plessis is a product of Hennopspark Primary School in Centurion, Afrikaanse Hoër Seunsskool (Affies) and University of Pretoria (Tuks).

He played for the Blue Bulls at the 2008 Under 18 Academy Week competition before moving to Durban to join the Natal Sharks. He played for the Sharks in the 2009 Under 19 Currie Cup and for the Sharks Under 21 team in the 2010, scoring 96 points in 12 matches. He was named in the Sharks’ squad for the 2011 Vodacom Cup competition, but failed to make an appearance. He made 2 more appearances for the Sharks in the 2011 Under 21 Currie Cup, before returning to the Blue Bulls Under 21 team for the latter part of the competition, making a further 4 appearances.

He was included in the Blue Bulls squad for the 2012 Vodacom Cup competition and made his first class debut against the Valke, coming on as a halftime substitute and scoring a try within 5 minutes of his debut, as well as nailing 2 conversions. He also appeared as a substitute in 2 of their remaining fixtures in the competition. He was once again included in their squad for the 2013 Vodacom Cup competition and made his first start for the Blue Bulls, once again against the Valke, this time scoring 7 conversions.

His next game in the competition came against the Limpopo Blue Bulls, with the Blue Bulls running out 110–0 victors. Du Plessis weighed in with 2 tries and 15 conversions (missing just 1 attempt), scoring 40 points in 1 match, a Vodacom Cup record.

He joined the Free State Cheetahs on a short-term deal for the 2013 Currie Cup Premier Division.

He signed a two-year deal with the Golden Lions, joining them in November 2013.

Willie also played Varsity Cup rugby for Tuks, making 12 appearances in 2012 and 2013.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2008 – Blue Bulls – U18 Academy Week
  • 2009 – Sharks – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2010 – Sharks – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2011 – Sharks XV – Vodacom Cup squad member (did not play)
  • 2012 – Tuks – Varsity Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Tuks – Varsity Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Toyota Free State Cheetahs – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

I have touted Willie’s rise for a while and it is possible that 2014 might see him playing some Super Rugby, but I expect it to be from the bench, if at all.

 

Starters:

The Lions should start with the tried and trusted Elton Jantjies, but do not be surprised if Marnitz Boshoff gets a starting spot anyway at fullback and I certainly won’t be surprised if he usurps Elton Jantjies at flyhalf in 2014.

 

The next Article in the range will deal with the Lions midfield.

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