Elton Jantjies has worked hard to improve his goal-kicking this season, says Lions kicking coach Neil de Bruin.
De Bruin, the son of Lions coach Swys, was appointed by his father’s predecessor Johan Ackermann earlier this season to work with the team’s kickers – Jantjies, Andries Coetzee, Ross Cronjé and Faf de Klerk.
Jantjies struggled for consistency off the kicking tee last year, with a success rate of 72% in Super Rugby and 71% in Tests. That success rate has increased considerably in 2017, with Jantjies kicking at 82% in Super Rugby and 89% after five Tests.
De Bruin says it is all down to the player’s will and determination.
‘Elton was hell-bent on improving his goal-kicking after last year. He wants to keep his technique as natural as possible and that is why we decided not to make any major changes,’ De Bruin told Netwerk24. ‘We worked on the basics and you can see his body positioning is more straight.
‘He is not like Jonny Wilkinson, who will practice thousands of kicks for hours on end. Elton kicks with feeling. Sometimes it so happens that he only practices 20 kicks and when he feels comfortable and confident, that’s it.’
De Bruin added that Bok assistant coaches Franco Smith and Brendan Venter should also get credit for the work they do with Jantjies in the national set-up.
‘Elton is a player who is on the receiving end of criticism regularly, but week after week he produces match-winning performances. It’s time that we support him. He has the ability to win us the World Cup.’
Photo: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images
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