‘Just a bit of fun’, as fighting Jantjies puts Erasmus at ease

Elton Jantjies in action for the Springboks at last year's Rugby World Cup. Picture: Getty Images

Though he didn’t step in the ring with Cornal Hendricks, Bok star Elton Jantjies says some boxing could be on the cards for him down the line.

Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies has revealed he was nearly in big trouble with national team coach Rassie Erasmus.

“Rassie phoned me earlier this week asking me about this fight I was going to be having with Cornal (Hendricks),” said the Bok World Cup winner on Friday morning.

“He wanted to know what was happening and was worried I might get injured.”

It all turned out well for Jantjies – and Erasmus – as the Lions flyhalf and captain didn’t actually get into a ring with Bulls wing Hendricks on Wednesday evening. Instead, they battled each other in a virtual duel.

“It was a bit of fun,” said Jantjies, “but, of course, I’d love to do some proper boxing at some stage; maybe, possibly, once I hang up my rugby boots. Everybody knows I love the sport.

“I’ve actually only got back into it recently, following the lifting of some of the Covid restrictions,” said the avid boxing fan.

“Doing all the boxing drills helps me a lot and it has become a big part of my rugby preparation.

“It helps me to stay fit, keeps me in good condition and makes me think quicker and better. In boxing you have to be one step ahead of your opponent, so being quick on your feet is important.”

Elton Jantjies and Rassie Erasmus

Elton Jantjies and SA director of rugby Rassie Erasmus. Picture: Getty Images

The very health-conscious Jantjies said he was looking forward to Saturday’s much-anticipated North-South clash in New Zealand, to wrap up their domestic Super Rugby season. Two high quality line-ups have been assembled for the match, scheduled for Wellington, with the flyhalf battle between Beauden Barrett and Richie Mounga a possible highlight.

“I’m really looking forward to the match,” said Jantjies.

“I think it’s brilliant that they’ve been able to arrange it. I hope we can do something similar one day, too.

“And it should be a good fight there at 10. Beauden has been in good form, even if he’s played at fullback mostly this year, and Richie, too, has been in good touch. I spoke to them both this week and they’re also excited about the match.”

The Lions are currently preparing for their return to action in a new-look local competition from next month, something Jantjies said the players couldn’t wait to happen.

“There’s a real hunger for action now. We’re all just waiting to play properly again,” he said.

“Everyone has dealt with this whole Covid thing so well, and there’s a genuine positive vibe about life, which is good. It’s been a challenge, but we now need to play again.”

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