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Elton Jantjies warns Boks to be on high alert for Pumas

By Rugby365 MoonsportTV
(Photo by Ashley Western/MB Media/Getty Images)

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Recalled flyhalf Elton Jantjies warned his South African teammates to get their feet back on the ground “as soon as possible”, as they shift their focus from the British and Irish Lions to Argentina.

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The Springboks came back from a first-Test loss (17-22) to demolish the B&I Lions 27-9 in the second international and then claimed the series with a nail-biting 19-16 win in an intense third Test.

They have very little time to celebrate the enormity of the victory and Jantjies said they need to refocus and get ready for opponents that are always ‘high on emotion’.

The Boks start the defence of their Rugby Championship crown – last contested before the World Cup in 2019 – when they face Argentina in back-to-back Test in Port Elizabeth the next two Saturdays.

Jantjies, 31, was recalled after coming off the bench in the first Test loss against the B&I Lions at the Cape Town Stadium – watching from the stands in the second and third Tests.

Capped 39 times, Jantjies spoke of the pride in playing for the Boks, adding that “consistency” is the key for his longevity.

“When you play you have a certain role and when you don’t play you have a different role,” he said of his ability to remain motivated – even when he does not make the cut for the matchday 23.

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However, he will be one of the key drivers against Argentina in the next two weeks.

Jantjies said their performances in 2020 – two draws against Australia and a win against New Zealand – will give Los Pumas confidence.

“They always bring motion into the game,” the veteran No.10 said, adding: “That is what Argentineans are like.

“The last time we played them – in 2019, before the World Cup – it required an 80-minute performance,” he said of South Africa’s 24-18 win over Argentina at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria.

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“They will look at that game and take the positives from that.

“We, as a team, have also grown [improved].

“We have just completed a series against the British and Irish Lions and we have to refocus.

“These first two games [against Los Pumas in PE] is important for us in the Rugby Championship.”

Jantjies played down the significance of being in the background, while Handre Pollard gets the starting role in the main fixtures – just as it was at the 2019 World Cup.

In fact, Jantjies has been generously praised by the Bok management for his willingness to work hard and ‘assist’ the team, even when he is not in the matchday squad.

“I’ve had this question for the last few years,” Jantjies said of playing a secondary role in the squad.

“Like I always say, for me, it’s all about the team, especially at this stage in my career.

“I’ve said it many times, when you’re young, you’re very [individualistic].

“But as soon as you get more experience and become a little older, you start becoming more focused towards the team.”

He added that he is now, at this late stage in his career, the kind of person that wants to get to know the other players better, know about their personal lives and what they like or don’t.

“Whenever you get on the park, you have something in common with those players,” Jantjies said, adding that he now understands how the guys play and what they love about the game.

“For example, I know what Sbu [starting right wing Sibusiso Nkosi] likes and on Saturday.

“I want to go out there and provide that for him.

“And I want to take that responsibility to make sure the team get the right results.”

Jantjies will be heading to Japan again after he completes his Springbok commitments, signing a deal to play for the Red Hurricanes in the Top League – rejoining his former Lions boss Johan Ackermann, who became head coach of the club in 2020.

He spent fours playing for the Shining Arcs in Japan during South Africa’s off-season between 2014 and 2018 and earlier this year he had a loan spell with French club Pau.

However, he is determined to make the best of his latest opportunity – when he partners Cobus Reinach in one of several changes to the Springbok starting lineup that also features Damian Willemse, Aphelele Fassi and Frans Steyn.

“It’s always special every single time you get the opportunity to wear the green and gold,” Jantjies said, adding: “It’s an opportunity you should never take for granted.

“You try and stay as consistent as possible through your performances on and off the field to be able to be in this environment.”

– Jan de Koning, Rugby365

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Elton Jantjies warns Boks to be on high alert for Pumas

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