Herschel Jantjies. Picture: ASHLEY VLOTMAN
Herschel Jantjies. Picture: ASHLEY VLOTMAN

Cape Town — Stormers scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies has come a long way in four months and on Saturday he will have a glimpse of greatness first-hand when he comes up against Aaron Smith.

The All Black World Cup-winner is one of the greatest halfbacks in the history of the game. For Jantjies‚ who started the year as the Stormers’ second choice halfback‚ it is a huge opportunity to measure himself‚ and learn from‚ the best.

“He [Smith] does sum up the situation really quickly and in that regard is one to follow and I definitely want to do that, but there is a long way to go before I can compare myself to Aaron Smith‚” said Jantjies.

“But if I am willing to learn and focus on what I can achieve then there is no reason why I can’t achieve it.

“It is not a personal battle so much as I like to work on my own processes to follow and to focus on myself. I do my stuff and worry about myself and don’t worry too much about the opposition.”

Jantjies has even entered Springbok airspace and is on coach Rassie Erasmus’ radar after being invited to a Bok training camp recently.

Aaron Smith. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/DIANNE MANSON
Aaron Smith. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/DIANNE MANSON

The 23-year-old is not reading too much into that, though.

“I was at the camp but my mind is not on that‚” Jantjies said. “I can’t be playing for the Stormers and my mind is in Japan.

“If I don’t play well for the Stormers then I won’t make it. So my focus is on the next four games for Stormers and hopefully with God on my side I can go on from there.”

Jantjies is quick and has an eye for the gap‚ which he demonstrated when scoring the match-winning try against the Lions in round two. He is also highly effective on defence despite his size.

It’s that combative attitude and natural athleticism‚ which make him a potential international halfback.

“I like making breaks and trying things on attack and giving the opposition defence something to think about‚ that is just the way I have always played‚” said Jantjies.

“I guess you can say I am an instinctive player. I play what I see. And that is especially so when things don’t go our way in a match. I suppose it is in my DNA‚ if you want to put it like that.

“There is always room for improvement. I can improve my passes and definitely my kicking. But with time and a lot of training, that will come‚” he said.