I caught up with mercurial, talented and hairstyle master Elton Jantjies. The Lions and NTT Communication Shining Arcs player gave us 10 minutes of his time. Elton was coming from rehab, doing some work on his ankles and knee when we decided to chat; Japan, sushi, The Springbok team and playing inside centre. Here is Jantjies
BC – Hi, how are you Elton?
EJ – I am good thanks man.
BC – How was your time in Japan?
EJ – My time in Japan was successful, and an opportunity to focus on myself and rugby. I managed to get some game time and got over my injury after I got a shoulder operation last year. It took away some game time and only managed to play half the Super Rugby season. I really enjoyed the experience and looking forward to going back again.
BC – Did you meet up with other South Africans? How did you adjust to the culture and style of play?
EJ – Yes I managed to meet a couple of the guys after games and we would have chats after the game. The culture was quite different and something I was not used to . Having been used to car use, you now get on trains and the food was also a huge change but it is quite healthy and good.
BC – Looking at your Super Rugby season, you have grown and evolved as a player? You have played 12 in Japan recently. Could this be a permanent move or you were working on your versatility?
EJ – Playing 12? No, never! (as he laughs) I am a specialist fly half for the next few years that I play rugby. We discussed the situation prior to the games to have me play there to add more distribution and kicking for the sides, I am also learning about that role, what it requires and it is mostly a second playmaker for most sides. (Playing at 12, twice in Japan and against the Rebels for the Lions).
BC – You were the form 10 this season in the country after a tough few years. What do you attribute the change of fortune to, especially after taking lots of criticism?
EJ – It was a tough period, especially when I was at the Stormers and my father had passed away? I have learned a lot, adapted to many aspects of the game, worked on so much of my game like defence. The Stormers way was something different as well. People have their opinions and this year I was all about consistency, aiming to perform well and be able to push for a World Cup spot and get my jersey back at the Lions. I wanted to get back in the Springbok fold, I have been there before and it’s nothing new. Working real hard, be in good shape and it was visible that this year was a good year. There is lots of room for improvement. I wanted to express myself, be the general and the guys really managed to do well. I enjoyed the season and have not reached my goal and full potential.
BC – Tell us about your time in Cape Town?
EJ – It was a great challenge, a side with ambition and I believe it was a good move. My father passing was a setback and I had to get through it which took me about 12 months. I however, gained lots of confidence which made me a better player and person. The taking away of my kicking duties was tough as it took away the opportunity to be in Springbok contention which cost me in 2013.
BC – What does Elton say to himself before taking kicks?
EJ – Its a personal message I tell myself, its something that is in my overall routine.
BC – Will he be getting a new hairstyle soon?
EJ – Maybe! *chuckles*
BC – Thanks Elton!
EJ – Cheers man!