Matured Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies knows it's all about the team
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Flyhalf Elton Jantjies has had to watch most of South Africa’s recent success from the sidelines as the second choice to Handre Pollard, but on Saturday he gets his chance in the Rugby Championship opener against Argentina in Nelson Mandela Bay.
He was left out of the match-day 23 altogether for the British & Irish Lions series decider this past weekend as 37-year-old Morne Steyn kicked the winning penalty off the bench, and also played a bit-part in the 2019 Rugby World Cup triumph.
Jantjies is more of a running flyhalf, a mercurial talent but not as well suited to South Africa’s territorial kicking game.
When he does play it suggests a change in style and plan from the Boks, and he is eager to prove his worth against the South Americans.
"Like I always say, it's all about the team, especially at this stage in my career," Jantjies told reporters. "I've said it many times, when you're young, you're very (focused on yourself), but as soon as you get more experience and become a little older, you start becoming more focused towards the team.
"You become the kind of person that wants to get to know the players' personal lives and what they like or don't, so that, whenever you get on the park you have something in common.
"You get to understand how the guys love to play. For example, I know what (wing) Sbu (Nkosi) likes and on Saturday, I want to go out there and give him that."
Jantjies has won 38 caps since he made his debut in 2012. He will have hoped for many more in the last nine years but says he has learned to appreciate that everybody in the squad, whether they play or not, has a role in preparing the team for the next fixture.
"You try and stay as consistent as possible through your performances on and off the field to be able to be in this environment," he says.
"But we have certain roles in the group, whether we play or we don't. That keeps the squad healthy, and that's good for us."