Coetzee to give Elton recovery time
The flags at the Stormers headquarters in Parow were flying at half-mast on Monday as a sign of sympathy and respect to new flyhalf Elton Jantjies, whose father Thomas died tragically at the weekend.
The senior Jantjies (46), a warrant officer in the army, died of complications from a bee sting, something that coach Allister Coetzee said had shocked everyone at the Stormers.
“You will see that our flag is flying at half-mast today because of the very tragic and sad happening at the weekend,” said Coetzee.
“Elton has obviously gone to give support to his family and we see it as important to give him our support. We are not even thinking about when he might be back with us at this stage. That is not an issue. When his dad is laid to rest we will assess then how Elton feels.”
Jantjies was expected to make his Stormers debut in one of the two warm-up games scheduled for his coming weekend (Cheetahs in Bloemfontein) and the one after that (Boland in Cape Town), but that now seems unlikely. However Coetzee is not fazed.
“We have Gary van Aswegen coming back into training after recovering from injury and we have also had Kurt Coleman training hard with us,” he said.
“Then there is Louis Schreuder, who although a scrumhalf looked quite good when tried at flyhalf last season, as well as Dewaldt Duvenage, another scrumhalf who can also play flyhalf.”
Coetzee was not prepared to speculate on whether Jantjies would still be out when the Super Rugby opener against the Bulls on 22 February arrives, but there is a chance that the experienced Peter Grant will be back before then. Grant’s arrival back in the Cape is dependent on when his Japanese club is knocked out of their competition, with the flyhalf stating that it could be any time between 5 February and 25 February.
“We will take the same attitude to Peter after he arrives back that we have in the past few seasons. In other words we will assess his condition when he gets back before making any decisions. Obviously if he is carrying a niggle we would rather not consider him and it would also depend on how much opportunity he gets to train with us before we play.”
However losing Jantjies at this stage of the build-up to the new season is a blow to the Stormers as the coaches would have been working hard assimilating him into the team’s game strategies, in particular the defensive system that has been such a big part of the Stormers’ consistent top two finish on the log over the past three seasons.