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Jantjies enjoying his “burning” lungs

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“Physically, my lungs were burning and playing at altitude made it tougher, but it was nice and just being out there being able to play rugby helped me forget about that,” says Herschel Jantjies.

Herschel Jantjies says that every player should give their all in Saturday’s Green vs Gold clash at Newlands. Picture: Mike Hutchings, Reuters.

CAPE TOWN – Springbok scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies says players both young and old should soak up as much as possible while they prepare for the Springbok Showdown on Saturday.

This weekend will see promising youngsters in action along with some senior Springboks when two 25-man squads (the Green team and the Gold team) go up against one another at Newlands in Cape Town.

Both SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus and Bok coach Jacques Nienaber have stated that this match will present players the opportunity to put themselves on the Test radar, and Jantjies – who sustained an injury before rugby was suspended due to the nationwide lockdown – believes just being in the Springbok environment and learning from other each other and the coaches will make everybody better players.

“I think my situation was a blessing in disguise for me before we went into lockdown I had a fractured leg, so I had time to recover and when I came back rugby started,” said Jantjies, who will form the half-back combination with Damian Willemse for the Gold team.

“It’s great to be playing rugby again and I’m just looking forward to learning, taking in as much as I can and proving myself.

“Physically, my lungs were burning and playing at altitude made it tougher, but it was nice and just being out there being able to play rugby helped me forget about that.

“This week is a good time to learn, you’re never too old to learn. The players, young and old, should take as much out of this as possible, it will certainly make us, and especially the younger guys, better players as well.”

Bok loose forward Duane Vermeulen, who is part of the Green team, agreed with Jantjies and added that the spectacle will provide a good platform for players to impress the coaches.

“The most important thing for us is just working on our match fitness going into a Currie Cup season, and there are a lot of youngsters who have been selected and now have an opportunity to display their skills on a bigger platform. Whenever we get together again as a Springbok squad that could stand them in good stead,” he said.

“There are guys like Arno Botha who have been in the fold before, and now they’re back in the mix and getting another opportunity. I think it would be nice for the coaches to see what they can do, and if they still have the burning desire to play for the Boks.

“Rassie and Jacques always talk about being a warrior, and they’ll want to see who has that warrior spirit in them, and then from there you can always develop a few different skills once you’re in the Springbok set-up.”

@WynonaLouw