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Rugby | Absa Currie Cup

Jantjies casts a spell over WP



Flyhalf Elton Jantjies scored 31 points to mastermind a spectacular come-from-behind 46-28 (halftime 19-21) victory over Western Province in their Currie Cup Premier Division match played in Johannesburg on Friday.

Jantjies scored a try and kicked four conversions and six penalties in a masterful individual performance that had class written all over it.

WP looked to have the match sewn up on a number of occasions -- they led 21-10 and later 28-19 -- but in both instances it was the young pivot who stayed ice-cool, slotting kick after kick to turn the blue tide.

Trailing by nine points early in the second half, the Lions racked up 27 unanswered points to condemn the visitors, the tournament’s early pace-setters, to their third straight defeat.

The Lions, on the other hand, picked up their fourth win on the trot, and their fifth from eight matches, to climb the charts to fourth.

WP flyhalf Willem de Waal opened the scoring early on with a penalty but it was the Lions who grabbed the first try of the night when left wing Michael Killian scooted in.

The try came from a good break in midfield by centre Doppies la Grange, who popped the ball to the former NMMU student flyhalf.

Flyhalf Jantjies kicked the conversion but De Waal cancelled it out and then added another to regain the lead for WP.

Jantjies returned the favour in the 20th minute with his first penalty to make it 10-9 to the Lions, before WP took the game by the scruff of the neck with two tries in quick succession.

The first was scored by winger JJ Engelbrecht in the left-hand corner in the 23rd minute, before eighthman Duane Vermeulen cantered in four minutes later to give De Waal the easiest of conversions for a 21-10 lead.

Jantjies, however, set about reeling in the arrears with three further penalties before the break to make it a two-point ball game.

The second half wasn’t three minutes old by the time WP got their third try through replacement back Conrad Hoffmann, who ghosted his way over in the left-hand corner for De Waal to convert.

But the left-footed Jantjies kicked his fifth penalty after 48 minutes to keep the Lions in the hunt, then nailed a sixth five minutes later to make it 28-25.

Killian then took advantage of a hack-ahead by eighthman Warren Whiteley to dive over and give the Lions the lead on the hour, with Jantjies adding the extra points to make it 32-28.

Then came the try of the night, and that man Killian was at the heart of it again. From a WP scrum, De Waal lost the ball, which found its way into the hands of Killian inside his own 22.

The winger weaved his way upfield and very nearly scored himself but had the presence of mind to pass to flying flanker Derick Minnie on his shoulder.

Jantjies, again, made no mistake with the conversion and suddenly it was the home side who were enjoying the comfort of an 11-point cushion.

But the 20-year-old flyhalf wasn’t done, as he proceeded to weave his way over from a five-metre scrum with four minutes remaining to seal the match -- and announce himself on the senior stage in grand style.

Scorers:

Lions 46 – Tries: Michael Killian (2), Derick Minnie, Elton Jantjies. Conversions: Jantjies (4). Penalties: Jantjies (6).

WP 28 – Tries: JJ Engelbrecht, Duane Vermeulen, Conrad Hoffmann. Conversions: Willem de Waal (2). Penalties: De Waal (3).

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