Elton not lost to Lions – just yet

Elton Jantjies will play for the Lions in the 2013 Currie Cup.

Jantjies confirmed to keo.co.za that he is on an eight-month Super Rugby contract with the Stormers, after which he will see out his Currie Cup contract with the Lions.

He will only then make a decision where to play domestically in the 2014 season.

‘I am not on loan from the Lions to the Stormers. I am on a Stormers Super Rugby contract,’ he said. ‘But I gave a commitment to the Lions to play in the Currie Cup. I think all the Lions players were shocked when it was confirmed that the Lions would not play in Super Rugby. I don’t think any of us thought it could happen and with the uncertainty of who would play [the Kings or Lions] my focus was always with the Lions. Every player wants to play Super Rugby so when it was confirmed the Lions were out I had several offers from within South Africa.

‘I settled on the Stormers after consultation with my father, my agent and after much prayer. I am religious and a lot of thought went into the move. I loved playing for the Lions and certainly won’t be rushed into making a decision about 2014. My focus now is on the Stormers and giving everything to the squad.’

Jantjies said he has dealt with the move as he would when called up to the national squad.

‘When you play for the Boks and are involved with the Bok set-up you give that your total concentration. You work with the national coaches, who invariably were very different in many ways to what we had at the Lions, and Super Rugby and provincial set-ups are so different to national set-ups. I give my all to the team I am with at the time and to the coaches guiding my contribution to the team. I don’t see myself as a Lions guy playing for the Stormers just like I won’t see myself as a Stormers guy playing for the Lions in the Currie Cup. I am a South African rugby player hoping to excel for the Stormers in Super Rugby and a South African rugby player hoping to be as successful when playing for the Lions in the Currie Cup.

‘Both Super Rugby and Currie Cup are opportunities to make a case for national squad selection. If the team does well and I am part of that reason then the rewards will follow.’

Jantjies said he is always in touch with his former team-mates and has a healthy relationship with the coaches at both regions.

‘There is a lot of respect for the situation of the Lions players who are playing for different regions this season but from the moment I arrived in Cape Town I took on the attitude that the Stormers are my team for the next eight months and they get all my effort and my loyalty.’

Jantjies made his Test debut in 2012 after first touring with the Boks in 2010. He played flyhalf against the Barbarians at Twickenham in 2010, but Test caps are not given to Bok players for matches against the Barbarians.

He completed his schooling at Hoerskool Florida in Gauteng, where he played for the Lions Craven Week side after spending his first two years of high school at Paarl Gymnasium in the Western Cape.

By Mark Keohane