The Latest: Small man, big role for Boks scrumhalf Jantjies
TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on Friday at the Rugby World Cup in Japan (all times local):
Size doesn’t matter much to Herschel Jantjies. The smallest member of the Springboks squad plays behind one of the biggest forward packs in the world. So he’s got plenty of protection.
“I try not to think about size, because if I do, it’s just going to put me in a negative mindset,” the 160-centimeter (5-foot-3), 80-kilogram (176-pound) scrumhalf says. “I try to go in with everything I have. I play out of my heart, so my body shape or type will never matter to me.
“If you think about a guy running over you, he will eventually run over you. It’s rugby, it’s physical. You can’t shy away from the physical stuff — You’ve just got to climb in there and embrace it.”
Jantjies scored two tries on his test debut in the Rugby Championship win over Australia in July and has become the backup to Faf de Klerk as the Springboks No. 9.
He could have a big role to play, too, with the Springboks picking him among only two backs on the eight-man reserves bench for Sunday’s Rugby World Cup semifinal against Wales.
Wales recalled fit-again Jonathan Davies at center and selected Leigh Halfpenny in place of the injured Liam Williams at fullback for the Rugby World Cup semifinal against South Africa on Sunday.
Davies missed the 20-19 win over France in the quarterfinals because of a knee injury. He replaces Owen Watkin, who drops to the bench.
Liam Williams was ruled out of the tournament Friday after hurting his ankle in an accidental collision in training and his spot is taken by Halfpenny, who didn’t make the 23-man matchday squad against France.
Ross Moriarty is selected at No. 8 following the tournament-ending hamstring injury sustained by Josh Navidi against France.