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'I live for the pressure': Elton Jantjies on THAT Springboks kick

By Liam Heagney

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All Blacks slayer Elton Jantjies has joked about his Springboks teammates celebrating victory before he got the chance to kick the penalty that gave his side their last-gasp 31-29 win on the Gold Coast. Aside from this decisive clock-in-the-red moment, the South African sub had a major influence elsewhere on the outcome of this latest clash between two of Test rugby’s greatest rivals. 

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Last weekend in Townsville, he was left as an unused sub on the Springboks bench, something coach Jacques Nienaber admitted was an error on his part. However, the coach was far more proactive regarding his replacement use this weekend and Jantjies was thrown into the fray with more than a half-hour left to play. 

He soon gave Makazole Mapimpi an assist for a try and then scored a penalty before the gripping contest had an incredible denouement. Jantjies thought he had won the game for the Springboks with a late, expertly struck drop-goal on penalty advantage. 

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Jacques Nienaber’s tactical perspective before the round six win over New Zealand
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Jacques Nienaber’s tactical perspective before the round six win over New Zealand

However, Jordie Barrett immediately put the All Blacks back in front 29-28 before the outcome dramatically came down to a penalty won in the New Zealand 22 in front of the posts. The spotting of the infringement by referee Matthew Carley ignited joyous celebrations amongst some Springboks players, but Jantjies had yet to put the ball on the kicking tee and strike over the winning points.

“Just on that last kick we actually celebrated a bit early,” he said with laughter at the Springboks post-media briefing. “It was straightforward. I live for the pressure, these are things that you do every single day so it was just going through your routine and making sure you keep your head down and kick it over.”

He added that was poised for kicking a drop goal if the infringement didn’t happen. “Yeah, that was something I mentioned to the boys. Make sure you execute with the ball and then if I get an opportunity after two rucks I would definitely go for it.

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“We executed quite well with our kicking game and our defensive effort, and we built pressure with ball in hand as well so it was an overall good performance in every department. Some cynical penalties that we couldn’t avoid but that is rugby – we are going to make mistakes and it’s about how we can bounce back from the mistakes. 

“It was an 80-minute performance, from the guys starting and then everyone on the bench as well played a massive role. Hats off to them and to the coaches for making those changes, for believing in the guys on the bench, trusting them to do the job. The drop goal was just something I always trained because you never know when you get a moment like that so tonight it happened and it was time to use it.”

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'I live for the pressure': Elton Jantjies on THAT Springboks kick

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