Elton Jantjies unfazed by possibility of leading Lions next season
Elton Jantjies admits his Rugby World Cup winner’s medal is as heavy as a gong.
The mantle and responsibility of being a World Cup winner‚ however‚ does not weigh him down‚ especially now as he is being touted as the next captain of the Lions.
With regular captain Warren Whiteley’s career in limbo due to injury‚ it may fall to Jantjies to lead the Lions out of the tunnel next season.
“In my position [as flyhalf] I’m like a captain‚” Jantjies said. “For me it isn’t a big deal. Obviously you have to deal with more off-the-field stuff. As vice-captain I worked with Wazza [Whiteley] a lot.
“Siya [Kolisi] and I are also close on the field. I see the picture. It shouldn’t change my game‚” said Jantjies‚ who captained Florida High School in his matric year.
Jantjies said being part of a World Cup-winning squad had not changed him‚ but he and his fellow Boks have added responsibility in next season’s Super Rugby competition.
“I want to see the franchises take a lot of confidence out of the Rugby World Cup. I would like to see the individuals who were part of the World Cup go back to their unions and share what they’ve been through. They can implement certain things they have learnt. We’ve learnt a lot from being in different situations. Be selfless and share.”
Though the Boks will be forgiven for feeling on top of the world‚ Jantjies is also endowed with a sense of reality.
“I must make sure that I’m fitter than last season‚” he said when asked whether he feels his career is at its summit. “It is easy to say my career is at the top after the World Cup.
“As an individual I have a lot of ‘work-ons’. Although I have played Super Rugby for almost 10 years‚ I love to learn and grow as an individual.
“A big thing for me is to know the people around me and making sure I make them look better. Make them look comfortable and confident.”
Though he is imbued with a sense of accomplishment‚ Jantjies stressed that his hunger for success in Super Rugby is undiminished.
“No‚ it is not hard‚” he quickly interjected when asked whether his motivation is where it ought to be. “I’m a guy that likes to reset and work on small goals‚ like improving my fitness.
“Making sure that I kick better‚ that I attack better and that I make better decisions‚ improve defence and game management.
“How do I work with younger players and how do I work with new coaches? Am I evolving as a player and as a leader? Those are key elements that drive me.
“I just want to play [all the time]. That may be the coach’s problem‚ not mine‚” he said with a smile.