Springboks and Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies believes they young 2020 Super Rugby squad can still mount a significant challenge.
Jantjies is one of the men who are being considered for the role of captain of the franchise which has suffered the second most departures among the South African teams to date.
The Lions have lost experience all over the park including Springbok forwards Malcolm Marx and Kwagga Smith and have also had skipper Warren Whiteley ruled out of the forthcoming season.
Jantjies believes the team will gel well with most of the players coming up through the Golden Lions Currie Cup squad. The Lions blew hot and cold in the most recent edition of the world’s oldest provincial rugby competition with their fortunes tethered to the performance of pivot Shaun Reynolds.
The Lions game will rely heavily on Jantjies creative influence, and he is also a frontrunner to take over the captaincy alongside halfback partner Ross Cronje.
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Despite being part of the Rugby World Cup-winning Springbok side, earlier this year Jantjies suffered through a frustrating Super Rugby campaign with the Lions. The number 10 wants to put that difficult Super Rugby season, that included a clash with then skipper Smith, when Jantjies disobeyed a direction to kick at goal.
Jantjies wants to push reset button
“I want to push the reset button and start the new year from scratch,” Jantjies said.
“I want to grow as a player and a leader and, no, I don’t think it’s going to be a challenging season for the Lions.
“It’s a young team, but they played together in the Currie Cup and there is a lot of potential.”
The 2020 Super Rugby season was officially launched in South Africa on Thursday when it was confirmed that Super Hero Sunday will be played in Johannesburg.
The launch took place at the SuperSport studios in Randburg on Thursday, with an assortment of coaches, players and other key stakeholders in attendance for the broadcast.
The event saw the four South African franchises unveil their new jerseys – which include the new designs of their Marvel character-inspired superhero playing kits – it was announced that Super Hero Sunday is coming to Gauteng next year.
All four SA franchises – playing in their jerseys inspired by the Marvel characters – will be in action on Sunday, 19 January at the FNB Stadium, less than two weeks before the competition kicks off.
The Sharks and Stormers will start the action at 1 pm, followed by the match between the Bulls and Lions at 3:15 pm.