Elton Jantjies extends his contract with the Lions
In a time when most marquee players have declared their intention to go abroad after the Rugby World Cup‚ Elton Jantjies has to opted to extend his contract with the Lions by a further two years.
Jantjies will for the foreseeable future at least continue his career with the Lions’‚ who have been bolstered by the migration south across the Jukskei River of utility back Duncan Matthews.
There is also growing speculation he will be followed by scrumhalf Andre Warner and flank Roelof Smit.
Matthews can ironically test his mettle on his Golden Lions debut against his former team the Blue Bulls at Ellis Park on Saturday.
Matthews has for some time been unsettled at the Bulls and had been looking for a move away from the union.
Matthews who showed much promise as a junior has seen his career nose dive under former Bulls coach John Mitchell.
“He looks exciting‚” said Golden Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen.
“We are excited about the contribution he is going to make to the team. He’s got good character. He looks like a good team guy.”
Eddie Fouche comes into the side at the expense of the concussed Jan-Louis la Grange‚ Rynhardt Nothnagel replaces Wilhelm van der Sluys who also suffered concussion‚ while flank Len Massyn gets a starting berth ahead of Vincent Tshituka.
Lock Thyno Herbst is back after a two-week suspension and he will start from the bench.
The team also includes the inform No 8 Hacjivah Dayimani who was instrumental in their come from behind win over the Free State Cheetahs last weekend.
“Hacjivah is in a good place in his career in terms of growth and responsibility‚” said Van Rooyen.
“He has put in a lot of preparation in terms of his physical preparation and his video work. He’s a physical specimen‚ a proper athlete.
"He is very grounded. He has good chats with us about where he’s at and where he’d like to go. We are excited by him‚” said the coach.
Captain Ross Cronjé nods in agreement.
“I just want to pass him the ball and watch him do his magic. He is one explosive player.
"Every time he gets the ball you feel he is going to score a try or that something will happen. He brings a different game. I think he is one of the fastest guys in South African rugby as a loose forward. It is like having three wings on the field.”
Although Van Rooyen lamented the slow starts the Lions have made this season in the competition‚ he is not overly perturbed.
“It isn’t necessarily a bad start. The intent and intensity is there.
"We just leaked a couple of points. Obviously we’ve addressed it. We know we have to start well this weekend‚” said Van Rooyen.
Cronjé offered his own diagnosis.
“I feel we are figuring where the other team’s weaknesses are. We also get messages from on top. That’s what has been helping with the comebacks.”
Golden Lions - Tyrone Green; Madosh Tambwe‚ Wandisile Simelane‚ Eddie Fouche‚ Stean Pienaar; Shaun Reynolds‚ Ross Cronje (captain); Hacjivah Dayimani‚ Len Massyn‚ Marnus Schoeman; Reinhard Nothnagel‚ Ruben Schoeman; Johannes Jonker‚ Pieter Jansen‚ Sti Sithole.
Substitutes: Jan-Henning Campher‚ Leo Kruger‚ Chergin Fillies‚ Rhyno Herbst‚ Vincent Tshituka‚ James Venter; Dillon Smit‚ Duncan Matthews.