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Boks playmaker Jantjes under pressure

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 17/09/2016 Daniel Gilhooly

Elton Jantjes' tenure as first-choice Springboks pivot appears to be over after a bungling display against the All Blacks.

South African coach Allister Coetzee struggled to mute his criticism following Saturday's 41-13 loss to the All Blacks in Christchurch.

It was their third-straight defeat of a miserable Rugby Championship road trip, conceding the most points in a Test against any opponent for more than a decade.

Jantjes, after shining for the Lions in their charge to the Super Rugby final in August, has failed to ignite at international level.

He hit a low point in Christchurch, where an unfathomable dropped ball from an All Blacks kickoff opened the door for the home team midway through the first half, straight after the visitors had taken the lead.

His clearances were ineffective and another glaring mistake was sending his kickoff out on the full to begin the second spell.

A disappointed Coetzee was asked directly about those incidents.

"Maybe some players are not ready for this level yet," Coetzee said.

"I will have to make some tough decisions going back home. Fortunately we'll get one or two experienced players back."

Proven first five-eighth Patrick Lambie is set to be available for the Test against Australia on October 1 in Pretoria.

He is scheduled to play in the domestic Currie Cup this weekend, returning after three months spent recovering from concussion suffered against Ireland.

Coetzee described Jantjes' dropped catch as a turning point after the Springboks had made a rugged start and led 7-3 through a slick try to winger Bryan Habana.

"Those are soft moments. Basic mistakes cost us and that's the difference between the two teams at this point in time," he said.

"(Halfback) Faf de Klerk and Elton are still young in terms of international rugby. It's no excuse but you compare that to Beauden (Barrett) and Aaron Smith."

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