SOUTH Africa’s Super 15 sides are yet to hit their straps in the competition, and there have been mixed performances from the flyhalves vying for the crucial Springbok No 10 jersey. But the Sharks’ Patrick Lambie has set the pace.
After two matches so far for the Bulls, Stormers, Cheetahs and Sharks — the Kings have played one — Joel Stransky and Kennedy Tsimba agreed Pat Lambie was leading the pack.
“A guy that has stood out is Lambie. His time on the ball, his decision-making is good, his kicking is decent and his control of the game is good. He’s just been outstanding,” 1995 World Cup-winning flyhalf Stransky said.
Former Cheetahs star Kennedy Tsimba said: “He’s very consistent — you know what you are going to get from him. He has a very calming effect over his team and that is what you need in a good flyhalf.”
Johan Goosen has had an average start to the season following a knee injury that ruled him out for a chunk of last season. The 20-year-old’s kicking has not been great but his runs have been threatening.
Stransky thinks the Cheetahs’ style of play may be too lateral for a player of Goosen’s calibre, while Tsimba believes the young star is being rushed back from his knee injury.
Bulls flyhalf Morné Steyn has had a good start for his team — looking comfortable with his running, passing and kicking — at goal and out of hand.
Elton Jantjies has been struggling since his move to the Stormers and this could be attributed to a number of factors, including the recent death of his father.
Jantjies, on loan from the Lions, had a forgettable start in his first Super Rugby game for the Cape side against the Bulls, but showed some improvement at the weekend in his side’s second defeat.
He seems to be taking time to adjust at Allister Coetzee’s side and is undoubtedly feeling the pressure, with Peter Grant waiting to get his first start.
Tsimba believes the 22-year-old needs to be given time to settle before he will be at his best for the Stormers.
Stransky, however, thinks that playing for a side where he is expected to make his own decisions in comparison with the “structured game he is used to at the Lions” is the reason for his struggles.
An addition to the picture is the Southern Kings’ Demetri Catrakilis, who had an impressive debut in the competition, although it is still too early to tell what he will bring to the race for the No10 Bok jersey.
His coach, Matt Sexton, told rugby365.com that the 23-year-old has what it takes to go all the way.
“He’s a player that has a massive future…. He is brave on defence, he has a lovely kicking game, good hands and is very composed under pressure,” the New Zealand-born coach said.
Both Stransky and Tsimba said that while his first game was impressive, it was too early to judge whether Catrakilis would further complicate Meyer’s selection problems.
Meanwhile, there are serious doubts whether Southern Kings skipper Luke Watson will be fit to lead his team against the Sharks in their Super 15 showdown in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
Watson did not train with the Kings on Monday and was seen leaving the stadium two hours ahead of his team’s vigorous field session at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
With George Byron