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No rest for motivated Jantjies

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The Springbok and Lions No 10 said there were several reasons why he would continue training and playing hard.

He’s played in three Super Rugby finals and recently bagged a Rugby World Cup winner’s medal but Elton Jantjies is far from being satisfied.

The Springbok and Lions No 10 said there were several reasons why he would continue training and playing hard, starting with next year’s 2020 Super Rugby competition.

“It’s not hard to motivate myself,” he said. “I like to reset every year, focus on some small goals there’s always room to be fitter, to kick better, attack better, make better decisions.

“I’m also going to be working with some new coaches next year; in sport you’re always evolving. I love rugby and the challenges it brings and that’s what drives me.

“I’ve been involved in Super Rugby for 10 years now and I’m still learning, still growing.

“What’s important now is to get to know the (new) people around me, to help make them more comfortable and confident.”

Jantjies urged his fellow Springbok heroes from Japan to share their experiences of the tournament with their Super Rugby teammates ahead of the 2020 competition.

“I’d like to see the individuals who were part of World Cup group go back to their unions and share what they have been through at that level,” said the Bok No 10. I’d like for those players to implement certain things at their unions. We all learnt a lot (at the World Cup) being put in different situations, and being tested, and it’s that kind of knowledge that we must all share around.

“We need to take those learnings back to our unions. We need to be selfless, not selfish.”

Looking back at the World Cup journey, Jantjies said winning in Japan was very special.

“I love that medal. It means a lot to me as an individual, but it also means a lot to the team and to the country.

“I really hope that the franchises can now use the confidence created by the Boks’ showing and take it into Super Rugby.”

With regular Lions captain Warren Whiteley unavailable for the 2020 Super Rugby season because of injury and several other star players of recent times having departed the franchise, Jantjies will be a key man in the Lions set-up in 2020.

He says he is excited about the challenges that lay ahead.

“There will be a lot of new faces (in the group), but most of the guys are going into their second season with the Lions, and a lot of them have played Currie Cup for two years now. And there are also some old faces, too so it’s exciting times for us and for the fans.

“Sure, there will be some doubt among the fans, but I’m really looking forward to playing in Super Rugby again.”

In the absence of Whiteley, Jantjies is actually one of the front-runners to take charge of the Lions in next year’s Super Rugby campaign. He has filled a leadership role in the team for years already, but could be the appointed the full-time captain by new head coach Ivan van Rooyen come the New Year.

It’s something that’s not foreign to him.

“I captained the first team in my final year at Florida, but captaincy is not a big deal to me,” said the 29-year-old.

“The only new thing would be dealing with some off-the-field matters because I’ve been vice-captain of the team for a while and been part of the leadership.

“I’ve worked closely with Wozza (Whiteley) in the past, as well as with Siya (Kolisi). I see the picture in front of me, but it won’t change things.”

The Lions are currently busy with their pre-season programme and break for the Christmas period next week.