Elton Jantjies embracing rare start for Springboks against Argentina

Mahlatse Mphahlele Sports reporter
Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies during the South Africa A Captain's Run at Cape Town Stadium in Cape Town.
Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies during the South Africa A Captain's Run at Cape Town Stadium in Cape Town.
Image: Carl Fourie

Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies is expecting Argentina to be full of confidence during their opening match of the Rugby Championship at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Gqeberha on Saturday.

They meet with the South American Pumas on a good run of form after one defeat in their last seven Test matches, where they have claimed notable scalps of powerhouses New Zealand and Wales since the World Cup.

Jantjies, who has won 38 caps for the Boks since he made his debut against the Wallabies in 2012, said they must be at their very best to stop the passionate Argentineans.

“They are definitely confident, because they have had a few good wins during the Rugby Championship where we didn’t play,” said Jantjies who has played second fiddle to Morné Steyn and Handrè Pollard during his international career.

“Because of their impressive recent results, they are going to be confident and they always bring emotion towards the game because that’s what Argentineans are like. The last time we played them in 2019 before going to the World Cup, it took us 80 minutes to actually beat them and they will look at that game and take some positives out of it.

“At the same time, we have also grown much as a team. The British and Irish Lions series win is behind us now and we have to refocus on these two important games against them at home.”

The fact that Jantjies has been in the shadow of Steyn and Pollard has meant limited starting opportunities for the national team and he wants to impress on his rare start.

“Every single time you get the opportunity to wear the green and gold is special and it’s an opportunity not be taken for granted. As an individual, you must try to stay as consistent as possible through performances on the field and also good behaviour off the field when you are in this environment.

“I have had this question [of not playing regularly] over the last few years and I always say it’s about the team. When you are young you tend to be individually focused but as you gain more experience and become a little bit older, you become more focused on the team.

“You become the person who wants to know the players in their personal lives and as individuals. This helps because whenever you get onto the park you have something in common or know the way the guy next to you plays.

“For example, with Sbu Nkosi I know what he likes and on Saturday it’s going to be about going out there and give him what he wants and make sure that we get the results.”