Cape Town - Tony Jantjies has had a year to forget, but he now has an opportunity to get his career back on track with the Blue Bulls.
Jantjies, younger brother of Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies, has been tipped as a major talent ever since he represented South Africa at the 2012 IRB Junior World Championships.
The Junior Boks won that tournament, but Jantjies spent most of it behind Handre Pollard in the pecking order.
Still, the future was bright for Jantjies, and much was expected of him as he began his time with the Blue Bulls.
Jantjies played Vodacom Cup and Currie Cup rugby for the Blue Bulls before he joined the EP Kings in 2015.
But Jantjies' time in Port Elizabeth did not last long, and he left with his tail between his legs when his contract was terminated for a "breach of protocol" in June 2015.
He had played just 2 Vodacom Cup matches for the union at that stage.
Jantjies has been in the wilderness since then, but the 23-year-old has been given a lifeline in the form of a second stint at Loftus.
He will start Friday's Currie Cup clash against Western Province at Newlands, and Blue Bulls coach Hendre Marnitz says Jantjies is in fantastic shape - mentally and physically.
"Tony feels that he’s learnt a lot of valuable lessons out
of this whole thing where things went south for him," Marnitz said.
"He kind of knows now that
he’s got an opportunity to try and make it and the ball is in his court.
come back in probably the best condition I’ve ever seen him. He does more
extras than he’s ever done and when you talk to him you can just see a guy who wants
to make it and I’ve taken my hat off to what he has done at sessions – off the
pitch and on the pitch at the moment.
"He adds a lot of value to the youngsters …
he’s a massive addition to the squad."
Friday's Currie Cup clash kicks off at 16:15 and will serve at the curtain-raise for the Stormers' Super Rugby clash against the Blue Bulls.