Rookie Waratahs five-eighth Will Harrison is in for another character-building outing in his first season of Super Rugby, warned Lions captain and Springboks veteran Elton Jantjies.
Harrison will square off with the World Cup-winning playmaker at Bankwest Stadium on Friday night. Jantjies demurred from confirming whether the Lions would target the young No.10 but fired a subtler shot across Harrison's bough.
Dangerman: Lions five-eight Elton Jantjies is looking forward to facing NSW young gun Will Harrison.Credit:PA
"I can't comment on that, that would give our game plan away," Jantjies said. "But for me it's always personal to see young flyhalves coming through, whether it's in Australia, New Zealand or South Africa.
"Facing this tough competition it gives a lot of experience, but it also builds a lot of character too, if you're a young flyhalf and you're playing against international boys.
"It's like a Tri Nations-type series, so I take it very personally, Super Rugby, and I just hope for the best for him on Friday and building towards his career."
Jantjies also weighed in on South Africa's future in the four-nation Rugby Championship, saying he couldn't imagine the Springboks playing in the Six Nations.
"I don't know what the scenarios are but for me personally and from the Lions point of view as well, [let's] stay with Super Rugby and stay with the Championship," he said.
"It's been working for us for many years and it's a very historic and traditional competition so we must stick to our strength from a rugby point of view and not fall into someone else's strengths. It's two different competitions, [the Six Nations] is very technical. It's different."
Jantjies echoed the sentiments of the Lions chief executive and owner, who both told a fundraising breakfast for Australian wildlife charity WIRES, that they had no interest in following the Kings and Cheetahs by joining the northern hemisphere's Pro 14 competition.
"If it wasn't for this competition, or even earlier in the days of the Super 10, [the 1995 World Cup win] wouldn't have happened for us, as well as 2007, and last year," Lions chief Rudolf Straeuli said.
Straeuli said the credibility of Super Rugby had been hit hard by the conference format and would be helped by a return next year to a round robin 14-team structure.
He also said the logistics of time zones and travel were a challenge to the bottom line of the South African franchises, who face four-week tours to Australia and New Zealand, as well as long trips to Argentina.
But the former Springbok and South African coach said a focus on pitting the best against the best would win over fans.
"Obviously they have a point commercially if people aren't getting up to watch South African teams, but I believe if you have marquee players – the best of the best, people who people want to watch – they will get up and watch it," Straeuli said.
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