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Don’t expect miracles

February 21, 2013 in Uncategorized

Where he used to carrying the hopes of a beleaguered team on his young shoulders he has now been thrust into a whole new ball game – to help a successful team win an elusive trophy, a massive responsibility for a youngster not deemed, by many, to be good enough for the Boks.

Throughout his relatively short senior career he has operated under immense pressure, not only on to perform on the field and the pressure of supporters expectations for him to turn his team’s fortunes around. In the media has been, at times, written off and at other times, talked up while in the Springbok camp he has been relegated to bag carrier most of the time. Rugby fans tend to magnify his perceived weaknesses and often chose to ignore his strengths.

Now, suddenly, the Stormers management and fans see his as their great hope to finally win a Super Rugby trophy. In virtually every media article about the Stormers there is talk about his x-factor and how he can improve the Stormers’ attack, help them score more tries and help them possibly win the trophy.

Unlike the other young flyhalves like Lambie and Goosen, who only have to worry about their own performances within their team set-up, the “responsibility” placed on Jantjies is so much more. Nowhere do you read that Lambie, now that he is the Sharks’ first choice flyhalf, is the key to them winning the trophy and nobody is tasking Johan Goosen with getting the Cheetahs into the play-offs.

I’m afraid that in the end Jantjies’s season will be measured by the Stormers success or failure, rather than by his own individual performances.

Come Friday night Elton Jantjies makes his debut for the Stormers against the Bulls, a debut fraught with traps and pitfalls. Not only hasn’t he played a practice match due to the untimely death of his father, he also steps into a team featuring new combinations from the front row through to the back three while he plays with new halfback and centre partners, both his # 9 and #12 are Super Rugby rookies with Nic Groom having played 2 matches and Damian de Allende making his debut.

These first matches often serve to shake off the off-season rust and, combined with the number of new combinations, I don’t expect this game to be filled with adventurous rugby and the Stormers suddenly scoring tons of tries, especially if one consider that they are playing a very experienced and settled Bulls side.

I hope the Stormers and other rugby fans will be realistic in their expectations for this match and for Jantjies in this match.

9 responses to Don’t expect miracles

  1. “Where he used to (sic) carrying the hopes of a beleaguered team on his young shoulders he has now been thrust into a whole new ball game”

    “a debut fraught with traps and pitfalls”

    You’re not slagging him off literally, but this post permeates negativity.

    Basically, if Elton was practising in a LIons jumper you’d be talking him up. This “thrust into a whole new ball game” is not new to Elton. He’s been with the Bok set up, he’s tasted Test match rugby, he’s a professional. This situation is not at all alien to Elton. He is expected to perform due to his reputation. WP fans have not forgotten how he was taken out and kept quiet during the Currie Cup semi-final

    In fact, he may respond positively to the Stormers set up – if he doesn’t, Peter Grant is there. The Stormers won the conference last year, they have a concentrated squad. There is no ‘i’ in t-e-a-m but he has been given the job of playing one of the most pivotal roles in the Stormers lineup – therefore many expect him to succeed. All eyes are on Elton, we as fans want him to succeed – not crumble.

    Whether he fails at Loftus, makes no difference – it might dent his confidence BUT the Super 15 runs till August. It’s a long season, he has the carrot of Bok duty to work towards.

    • The post is about the tone of the media hype and the expectations being created in the media that worries me. Virtually every time he is mentioned in an article the talk is about how he is to change the Stormers fortunes, as if it is solely on his shoulders.

      All I am saying is that the expectations are being raised in the media and with supporters that he will be the “saviour” of the Stormers in their hunt for a Super Rugby trophy. And all I ask is for a reasonable perspective to be maintained.

      And the ball game is new. Yes, he played 55 minutes of Bok rugby but spent more time holding tackle bags. He is not playing for a bottom of the log team now but for one that has consistently been at or near the top. That in itself should make it easier because, as you say, they have the structures and winning culture in place and it is a team.

      But he is not just expected just to fit in, he is expected to change the way the Stormers play their game and win them a trophy, at least that is what the media and many fans expect.

      I want him to do well, I want him to succeed. After all, he is still a Lion. But I’ve seen how quickly the media and fans can turn if they feel their expectations aren’t met. Elton, unfortunately, isn’t one of South Africa’s blue eyed boys who can have poor games and still be forgiven.

      I hope he has a great game tomorrow night and that he has a great season with the Stormers

  2. That’s the first time I’ve seen you slag off Elton – jealousy makes you nasty

  3. I do not think people (fans) are expecting miracles from Elton come Friday night already esp after what has transpired in the last month.
    A average performance from him and the team would be good enough. And I am sure AC and the fans will take a sneaky win.

    But as the season goes on fans and AC will start to expect him to get the backline going a bit. To get to outside backs more in the game than Peter ever could.

    Thing is the Stormers start their season Bulls, Sharks, Chiefs, Brumbies, Crusaders. That is basically the top 6 teams in the comp including the Stormers themselves.
    The Stormers can easily be 0/5 come end of week 6 in the comp.

    So although nobody is expecting miracles Jantjies will have to find his feet fast and start to deliver. Because there is no easy games in the early rounds.

    • As for the pressure it comes with the territory the Stormers paid a big amount of money to loan him for 1 season so they expect a return on their investment.

      Goosen and Lambie will also have lots of pressure on them esp. Lambie because he is the Sharks only hope at FH. He will be ask to repeat what Freddie did last year and it won’t be easy!!

  4. At least with these new combinations Jantjies will be able to dictate seeing that Nic and Damian are ‘youngsters’ when compared to him. He will shine – he always have.

  5. 1st. I dont think the Stormers will do as well as they think they will this year. Just a feeling I get.
    2nd. Are you supporting the Stormers this year in Super Rugby?
    3rd. Darwinia has a poster of Matfield and now of Etsebeth on her ceiling. Do you have one of Jantjies?

    • For the Stormers the big issue will be to become more attacking while maintaining a strong defence. A stong defence may grind out wins but to take the final step you need to attack as well. If the team gels they can be very good, if not …

      No, I am supporting the Stormers this weekend because I picked them to win. This weekend I support the Clan, Brumbies, Stormers, Canes, Reds, Sharks and the Force

      And no, I don’t have a poster of Elton but I have a lot of respect for the youngster. He has taken a lot of flack since he started and have had to cope with a lot more pressure than most players his age.

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