elton jantjies

Elton Jantjies amassed 46 Springbok caps. Photo: Michael Sheehan / AFP.

Does anybody still care about Elton Jantjies the Rugby World Cup winner?

Elton Jantjies is a gifted rugby player. Sadly, his professional career is now a mere afterthought because of his actions off the field.

elton jantjies

Elton Jantjies amassed 46 Springbok caps. Photo: Michael Sheehan / AFP.

It’s kinda weird that the personal life of Elton Jantjies has become a more hotly-debated topic than his performances on a rugby field. That’s where we are though, and almost all of it is self-inflicted.

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Elton Jantjies
Elton Jantjies recently revealed he sought ‘professional help’ for his private life – but Springbok rugby fans are unimpressed. Image via Facebook @eltonjantjies100

Elton Jantjies the rugby player

Let’s rewind quickly and focus on what we know about Elton Jantjies as an athlete before the controversy. The 32-year-old has enjoyed a decent, sometimes erratic career and shouldered some heavy criticism along the way. Jantjies has had to perform under numerous coaches, some of them not very good at their jobs, and adjust to all sorts of tactical demands on him.

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Elton Jantjies Boks
Elton Jantjies. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

There was a period in Jantjies’ career when the sight of his name on a team sheet immediately drew criticism. What is wrong with us as rugby fans? Can we not see that players don’t select themselves, and all they can do is the best when called upon by their coaches? You don’t amass 46 caps for your country if you’re bad at your craft or simply don’t care. Again, Jantjies is hardly unique in this regard. Some players just don’t have the adoration of the fans.

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Let’s also remind ourselves that Elton Jantjies has a Rugby World Cup winner’s medal around his neck. It’s a huge honour to pull on a green and gold Springbok jersey, and that’s an honour that virtually nobody reading this article will ever enjoy. It’s also an honour that comes with baggage and responsibility. Let’s fast-forward back to the present now though and where we stand.

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Elton Jantjies
Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies will appear in the Kempton Park magistrate’s court on Monday after being detained in Johannesburg on Sunday. Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images

Not all rugby players are role models

Rugby players are rugby players first and foremost, and only a select few are regarded unanimously as role models. For every exemplary human being like Siyamthanda Kolisi, there are thousands of other pro rugby players that focus on playing rugby. It is their livelihood. People like Siya Kolisi don’t grown on trees, but even national heroes like the Springbok skipper have their flaws. However, However, Elton’s off-field antics have crossed a few lines and there must be consequences.

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Jantjies must suffer the consequences of his actions

Although not everyone can be a role model, nobody has the right to inflict harm on others. If Jantjies, or anybody else for that matter, is struggling with his mental health or addiction issues, they deserve support if they’re willing to admit that they need help. That being said, his misdemeanors can’t be chalked up to addiction.

There are heavy prices to be paid in life for mistakes. It’s a huge shame that Jantjies’ family have had to endure what they’ve had to endure, but hopefully he makes small steps to start regaining their faith.

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What seems clear, for now, is that we are unlikely to ever see Elton Jantjies in a Springbok jersey again. The fact that his personal life is dissected on a daily basis and his rugby career is pretty much over, must fall at his feet.

Feel free to disagree with anything or everything that I’ve said in the comments. Let’s start a dialogue.

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