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Springboks explain Jantjies' selection despite last month's arrest

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Paul Devlin/SNS Group via Getty Images)

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Springboks boss Jacques Nienaber has explained why he has stood by Elton Jantjies despite the arrest last month of the NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes out-half after he flew into Johannesburg following a holiday in Turkey. The 31-year-old appeared in court on May 16 having been arrested and bailed the previous day after arriving back in South Africa.

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Jantjies was charged with malicious damage to property and contravening aviation laws after allegedly breaking a TV screen and swearing at fellow passengers and crew members on a flight into Tambo International Airport.

Prosecution spokeswoman Phindi Mjonondwane said at the time that Jantjies was allegedly acting in an unruly manner on the flight and was ordered back to his seat in the business class area after breaking a glass that cut his hand. He was then said to have damaged the TV and a light and was arrested when the plane landed after crew members complained about his behaviour.

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In a statement in advance of his May 16 court appearance, Jantjies’ agent James Adams said that a light was broken on the aircraft but the incident on the Emirates flight from Dubai to Johannesburg was unnecessarily heightened.

Jantjies had his case postponed until this month and he is currently in Pretoria with the Springboks after being one of the 17 players chosen on June 5 to attend the first week of the preparation camp ahead of the incoming July Test series versus Wales.

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During a midweek online media briefing about the camp, Springboks head coach Nienaber was put on the spot when the final question at the session queried why Jantjies had been called up for training despite last month’s allegations. “On Elton, the alleged allegations that happened was when Elton wasn’t in camp,” replied Nienaber.

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“He wasn’t in the Springboks camp at that stage and we will treat it as more information about the alleged incident will come to light and we just see it as listen he hasn’t been found guilty of anything under my knowledge and we treat it like that. He must be proven guilty of something but other than that we are working with him on the rugby stuff within the camp.”

Jantjies was a member of the victorious Springboks World Cup squad in Japan in 2019 where he was backup out-half to Handre Pollard. He has made seven Test appearances for his country since their return to action last July, a run of games that included scoring the winning penalty kick to beat the All Blacks in October in the Rugby Championship in Australia.

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