Golden Lions fly-half Elton Jantjies kicked a record nine penalty goals on Saturday in a 27-25 Super 15 victory over fellow South Africans Central Cheetahs.
The 21-year-old from western Cape town, Graaff Reinet, succeeded with nine of 11 attempts at goal — four in the first half and five in the second at a damp Ellis Park in the last opening-round fixture.
He beat the previous record of eight penalties created by Jannie Kruger of the Northern Bulls in 1996 and equaled by Willie Walker of the Otago Highlanders, Meyer Bosman of the Cheetahs and Derick Hougaard of the Bulls.
After receiving the man-of-the-match award, Jantjies was his usual humble self, deflecting praise to his teammates and bemoaning his first miss early in the game because he “went through his routine too quickly.”
His pre-kick routine imitates England 2003 World Cup winner Jonny Wilkinson with the clasped hands and long, studious gaze at the ball before striking it.
The 27-point haul took him clear at the top of the scoring charts after the first round of the southern hemisphere championship, with six more than Beauden Barrett from the Wellington Hurricanes and Joe Pietersen of the Western Stormers.
While Jantjies scored all the Lions points, Cheetahs fly-half Johan Goosen came close to matching that feat in an eventful evening for the 19-year-old making his Super 15 debut after an outstanding Currie Cup campaign last season.
He converted an early try from prop WP Nel that gave the visitors a lead they held until the closing stages, kicked five penalties from five attempts and dropped a goal from the halfway line to underscore his huge potential.
However, having helped the Bloemfontein-based Cheetahs build a 19-12 halftime advantage, Goosen was yellow carded on 54 minutes for obstruction at a ruck and retired injured soon after returning from the sin bin.
His absence proved costly as scrum-half Tewis de Bruyn and replacement pivot Sias Ebersohn fluffed penalty kicks and allowed the Lions to overturn a seven-point deficit with 30 minutes left.
After Jantjies kicked the Lions in front after five minutes, Nel barged over the tryline and Goosen converted from far out to give the visitors a lead they retained until six minutes from full-time.
The match-winning Jantjies penalty from close range came after Cheetahs loose forward replacement Ashley Johnson was penalized for a high tackle on Lions center Doppies la Grange.
STORMERS 39, H’CANES 26
REUTERS, CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
Joe Pietersen marked his Stormers return by kicking 21 points to help them begin their Super Rugby campaign with a win over the Wellington Hurricanes on Saturday.
The hosts’ three-try victory at Newlands was slightly overshadowed by what appeared to be a serious knee injury to their South Africa flanker Schalk Burger in the first 15 minutes.
The Hurricanes had all the possession during the opening exchanges, but once it turned over, their South African opponents scored immediately.
Gio Aplon dummied expertly and then squeezed between two players before racing more than 50m to land the opening try five minutes in.
Beauden Barrett, who also scored 21 points, replied with a penalty before Burger’s injury, with Pietersen knocking over successive kicks to extend the lead further.
After another three points from Barrett, the New Zealanders were reduced to 14 men when Tristan Moran was penalized for repeated infringements after 28 minutes.