The timing of the Covid-19-enforced lockdown was not all bad — at least not for Springbok scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies.
His broken leg arrived at a time in which mending‚ recuperation and rehab happened to coincide with rugby’s extended hiatus.
“My situation was a blessing in disguise‚” said Jantjies. “I had a fractured leg going into lockdown. I had time to recover and came back when rugby restarted‚” said the scrumhalf who was garlanded with a Rugby World Cup winner’s medal in Yokohama, Japan, in 2019.
He explained his road to recovery. “It took six to seven weeks to recover from the fracture. Obviously I had to go through all the rehab stuff to get fit again. That took quite a bit of time with lockdown and stuff.
“Everything panned out the way we wanted for me to be ready when we started full contact again. It happened the way we planned it out. When we started full contact training, I was full out‚ ready to go.”
His first game back was last weekend in the Stormers’ clash against the Lions in the second Super Fan match at Loftus.
“I just couldn’t wait for the past weekend to get out there and play some rugby‚” Jantjies said.
It didn’t come without discomfort.
“Physically, my lungs were burning. We played at altitude and it is never easy‚ especially in our first game after such a long break. It was definitely challenging. I spoke to Elton [Jantjies] after the game and his first question to me was: ‘How did that feel with the altitude?’
“This phlegm is going to be on my chest for a while. It was nice. There was still a lot of stuff that we can improve on and that I can improve on.
“It was just nice to be out there because you forget how tired you are because you just want to play rugby.”
Being separated from the game proved challenging. Unlike some of the more robotic box-kicking half-backs at the other major franchises‚ the Stormers No 9 is one of the most expressive players in his position.
The best scrumhalf in the country could not wait to terrorise the opposition.
“I’m really excited to be back. Nice to be playing some rugby again. I’m looking forward to this week and taking in as much as I can‚ improve and learn as much as I can‚” he said ahead of this weekend’s Springbok Showdown clash at Newlands.
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