Super Rugby’s Lions and Bulls have announced that their players, former Springboks teammates Elton Jantjies and Cornal Hendricks, will face each other in a fight next Wednesday that has been billed at ‘The Battle of the Backs’.
In an announcement that completely blindsided many, the bout will be streamed on September 2 on Facebook.
There is not yet any clarification as to what dicipline the two will be competing in, other than it will be a fight in an octagon. But the Bulls, for whom the 12-cap Hendricks signed for last year, wrote on their poster for the fight: “From rugby fields to octagons, history will be made.”
Meanwhile, in some further pre-fight hype to whet the appetite, the World Cup winner Jantjies promised: “There will be blood!”
With rugby still yet to return in South Africa due to the Covid-19 pandemic, players have had a lot of time on their hands over the past months with Jantjies and
Hendricks now prepped to show the fruits of their labour during the lockdown.
— Official Blue Bulls (@BlueBullsRugby) August 28, 2020
In a historic first the #BattleOfTheBacks is going down! Cappie Elton Jantjies will don the gloves to face Vodacom Bulls' Cornal Hendricks to fight it out for superiority.
Fight Night will be live-streamed on Facebook. Elton "Big Guns" Jantjies, promised: "There will be blood!" pic.twitter.com/ApFQh9oxl7
— Emirates Lions (@LionsRugbyCo) August 28, 2020
With South African sides set to return to full-contact training next week as a return to matches draws closer, this may be the last chance the two players have to punch each other in the face without receiving a red card.
This bout is another fascinating twist in the career of the 32-year-old Hendricks, who retired in 2015 due to a heart defect. He made his return to professional rugby last year when signing for the Bulls and now looks to be turning his hand to combat sports.
According to their respective club websites, Hendricks stands at 1.88m (6ft 2ins) and weighs 95kgs (14st 13lbs) while Jantjies is smaller and lighter at 1.77m (5ft 10ins) and 88kgs (13st 12lbs). However, while there is a mismatch between the two, that doesn’t make the situation any stranger than it is already.
Finally, a step forward in SA hopes of a return to play in 2020 https://t.co/RAXfEPzAfX
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) August 28, 2020
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now