Springbok and Emirates Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies credits his extra effort at specialised training for his rise in form this season.
Elton Jantjies has played a leading role for the Lions and Springboks in the No 10 jersey this season. He’s been influential on attack, solid on defence and accurate with the boot, especially in his attempts at goal.
This saw Jantjies spearhead the Lions during Super Rugby season, which saw the Johannesburg-based franchise win their conference and top the overall log at the end of the league phase, securing themselves home-ground advantage during the play-offs. He also played some of his best rugby in the Green and Gold as South Africa enjoyed a convincing 3-0 series victory over France in June.
Jantjies was quick to credit his coaches and team-mates for his impressive this year, but also revealed that he’s dedicated extra time to specialised training, which has made a positive impact on his game.
“In a team sport like rugby, it’s very important that you add value to the collective plan and that the players play for one another. We have great systems at the Lions, which has seen us achieve our goals week by week during Super Rugby. The time with the Springboks was also amazing as a group of guys came together, determined to make a strong statement against France,” Jantjies told MyPlayers.
“I’ve been very happy with my game this season, but there’s always room for improvement as I continue to remain focused and work hard. I don’t often speak about it, but I’ve dedicated time in recent years to get specialised coaching outside rugby, which has made a big difference in my life.
“I have a mental coach, who has worked with me regularly over the past three years. These sessions have been good for me as it keeps me focused and mentally fresh. I’ve also worked with a personal trainer, while I do some extra conditioning training on my own as well. I also spend some time with a yoga instructor, as we focus on core-strengthening exercises and movements. This helps with my kicking and general balance, especially when I run.”
Although the Lions have been one of the top-performing teams during Super Rugby this season, Jantjies expects a tough South African derby against the Sharks during the tournament quarter-finals this weekend.
“We’ve done very well this year. A big team goal was to finish on top of the overall standings, which makes sure we play at Emirates Airline Park and in front of our home crowed during the knockouts. So when we achieved top spot after our win last weekend, the guys gained a lot of confidence,” said Jantjies.
“But we now have to focus on one game at a time as the log position and bonus points no longer matter. We have to play to our strengths and play smart rugby to win on the day.”
Meanwhile, Jantjies is also enjoying a memorable year off the field too. In March, he and his wife Iva celebrated the birth of their second son Noah, who is the younger brother to EJ.
“I really love my family, who support me so much on and off the field,” said Jantjies. “It’s been an exciting time for us following the birth of our second son. We enjoy spending time together whenever we can. I’m really enjoying fatherhood.
“My wife also plays a big role. She’s an incredible, strong person as she takes on a lot of responsibility, especially when I’m away from home because of rugby.”
By Gareth Duncan