Springbok Elton Jantjies will have to wait a while longer before he will make his comeback to Super Rugby.
Jantjies, with just two Tests but more than 80 first class games to his credit, made a successful return to the playing field with the with the Golden Lions Vodacom Cup team last week – following shoulder surgery in the off-season.
However, he will not play this week and will, at the earliest, feature against the Sharks in week four – and then possibly, only off the bench.
Lions coach Johan Ackermann said a combination of factors will dedicate when Jantjies will play Super Rugby again.
“He did very well and made an impact when he came on,” Ackermann told this website, when asked about the 23-year-old Bok’s comeback in a curtain raiser against the Pumas at Ellis Park last Saturday.
“They [the Lions Vodacom Cup team] were trailing when he came on and they eventually beat the Pumas. He made a big contribution,” the coach said, adding: “Initially it looked like he was hesitant with the shoulder, but he improved as the game went on.
“He will also acknowledge that the pace of the game wasn’t that high, so he is probably a week or two away [from Super Rugby].”
Ackermann said Jantjies work on his conditioning this week and then next week, ahead of the game against the Sharks, they will decided if they will consider him.
“He will train with us, where we will work on his conditioning and his contact drills,” the Lions mentor told this website, adding: “The Vodacom Cup team is not in action this week, with the competition only starting the next week.”
The coach said he also has to start looking at rotation at some stage.
“It is not easy to say [when Jantjies will come back], because our plans might change after this weekend [when we play the Bulls].
“I want to give Elton [Jantjies] an opportunity to get involved with the team again, so we’ll have to see if it is next week or the week thereafter [against the Blues in Johannesburg].
“We will have to think carefully about it, because Bossie [Marnitz Boshoff] is in good form and you don’t want to upset that dynamic.”
Ackermann added that Jantjies and Boshoff formed a fine combination in last year’s Currie Cup competition, with the Bok at No.15 and Boshoff working his magic at fullback.
“We will have to sit down and think carefully,” he said, adding: “We have to see from Monday to Monday where we are with the team and what the dynamic is.
“Next week we may decide to let Elton play another game with the Vodacom Cup team to get more match fitness or we can involve him against the Sharks – from the bench or n the starting XV.
“For this week I feel it is important not to change the combination.”
* Meanwhile Ackermann revealed that injured loose forward Derick Minnie (fractured cheekbone) may be back on the playing field in three weeks.
Minnie suffered the injury during a collision with Bok veteran Schalk Burger, during the Lions’ 34-10 win over the Stormers at the weekend.
“He will see an orthopaedic surgeon on Tuesday, who will determine the length of his lay-off,” Ackermann said of Minnie.
“It looks set to between three to six weeks – the worst case scenario is six weeks. If they have to operate they will do it on Tuesday, otherwise it will just be the normal recovery period.”
Loose forward Willie Britz has recovered from his hip flexor injury and will be considered for selection ahead of this weekend’s clash with the Bulls.
Ackermann said other than Minnie and the usual array of sore bodies, bumps and bruises, there are no concerns.
“We will give them all as much time as possible to recover,” he said, adding that he will name his team to face the Bulls on Thursday.