Tears for Jantjies's folks
Johannesburg - Elton Jantjies’s parents cried tears of joy when his name was read out by SA Rugby Union (SARU) president Oregan Hoskins in announcing the Springbok team on Saturday.
"They were stressing before the announcement and when I heard I was in the squad, my father and mother cried," said Jantjies.
"I was so surprised and happy and I really didn’t expect it after everything that was said in the newspapers, but it is a great opportunity and I have to use it."
On Monday, the Jantjies family received more good news when Elton was crowned SARU’s young player-of-the-year and won the under-20 player-of-the-year award.
The 20-year-old now has his sights set on reproducing this brilliance in the national setup, even though Lions coach John Mitchell has warned that he should be given that privilege only next year.
Mitchell said Jantjies should be rested after a demanding season and that he was nursing an ankle injury that needed sufficient time to heal.
"I’m just looking forward to the opportunity and coach John made me understand why he didn’t want me to play."
Jantjies insisted that he is ready for the demands of international rugby - if selected to play - and that his injury is a thing of the past.
"I don’t feel any pressure as it is still an opportunity and I’m looking forward to the challenge," he said.
Ideally, Jantjies would like to wear the number 10 jersey at some stage, but he is well aware that he is not the only player with that ambition.
The Springboks’ first choice flyhalf is Morne Steyn. The Sharks’ Currie Cup final winner Patrick Lambie will also fancy game time in that position.
Jantjies said he understands the status quo and that his involvement depends on the decisions of the coaching staff.
"Pat and I played together in the SA schools team as well and we also have a great friendship. He is very composed and we communicate well on the field so we are learning from each other."
He is also still in the process of finding his feet in the national setup.
"It is challenging (being in the same team as his Springbok role models) because I am still new and I have to get to know the guys better, but there is a culture between the guys and you know where you stand in the team," said Jantjies.
Having been groomed by former All Black pivot Carlos Spencer, he is now looking forward to the input Springbok legend Percy Montgomery can provide.
"Percy was a good kicker and he is also left-footed so he can help me a lot."
Jantjies said he would bring his ambition to the field.
"When I see an opportunity, I will take it, no matter what and the team has to benefit when I do it. I won’t do stupid things that will be negative for the team."