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Ken Borland

Herschel using time in Bok camp as an investment in becoming a better player 0

Posted on September 30, 2020 by Ken

After sensationally bursting on the scene last year, 2020 has undoubtedly been a year of great frustration for Herschel Jantjies, but the 24-year-old scrumhalf has decided whatever time he has in the Springbok camp over the next couple of months will be a time of investment in making him an even better player.

Jantjies began 2019 not even sure of his spot as the Stormers No.1 scrumhalf, but his Super Rugby campaign was so outstanding that he was chosen for the Springbok squad, practically out of nowhere. His rapid ascension continued when he scored two tries on his Test debut in the 35-17 win against Australia at Ellis Park, and he ended the year as a Rugby Championship and World Cup winner, back-up to Faf de Klerk and with a nomination for World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year.

But then came 2020 and Jantjies’ woes started well before the Lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. His own form was as inconsistent as the Stormers’, and then he fractured his leg in their last game before Lockdown, against the Sharks in Durban. But the timing has been perfect for the Kylemore product and now that rugby has resumed, he is raring to go, as evidenced by his dynamic display last weekend against the Lions at Loftus Versfeld.

“It was actually a blessing in disguise having a fractured leg going into Lockdown. It meant I had the time to recover, it took six to seven weeks for the fracture to heal and then there was all the rehab and getting match fit. And now I’m really excited to be back and really looking forward to this week with the Springboks. In this week with the Gold squad, I’m just going to take in as much as I can because there’s a lot I can still improve on.

“It took quite a bit of time, but I was ready exactly when we planned – when we started full-on contact – and I just can’t wait to play some full-on rugby. In the meantime you’re never too old or too young to learn and I am still in the phase of my career when I am learning a lot. Then I just have to apply it to my game so I become a better player,” Jantjies said on Tuesday from Cape Town, where the Green and Gold squads are preparing for the Springbok Showdown at Newlands on Saturday.

Youngsters Damian Willemse and Curwin Bosch are the two flyhalves in the Gold squad and Herschel’s namesake but no relation, Elton Jantjies, is now the senior No.10 in the Springbok squad after Handre Pollard’s serious knee injury, and is intent on helping the less experienced wannabes along.

“It’s a big week for us because we want to get the alignment right between the old and new faces. It’s about being warriors, aligning with the group and having discipline. It’s really tough to lose Handre because he was starting to play really good, consistent rugby, and we helped each other. But if it’s my opportunity to fill that role then I’m definitely ready.

“In the meantime I just want to help the younger guys in the team to feel comfortable in the environment so that they can come out on Saturday and execute their skills. Until the Rugby Championship is confirmed, our main focus is on the Currie Cup/Super Rugby. But I’m sure we will be physically prepared and mentally as well,” Elton Jantjies said.

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    Philemon 1:7 – “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.”

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