Elton Jantjies. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Elton Jantjies’ wife has reacted to the reports that have erupted after the Bok flyhalf and team dietician Zeenat Simjee were sent home.
Elton Jantjies. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
There has been a naturally widespread and dramatic reaction to the news that Springboks flyhalf Elton Jantjies and team dietician Zeenat Simjee have been sent home from Argentina following reports of an alleged affair.
Jantjies’ wife Iva, who is currently in Japan, spoke to Netwerk24 on Tuesday about the allegations and also called on the Bok management to better monitor how staff behave and that boundaries are respected.
“I was shocked, I’m still shocked, I thought she was a family friend,” Jantjies’ wife commented. “Elton denies everything … I have my reservations, but all we can do now is wait and see.”
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The Springboks are currently preparing for a Rugby Championship clash against Argentina, but during press conferences this week a ban has been placed on any Jantjies-related questioning,
“I’ve said before that there’s a lot of pressure any national team has to deal with,” Bok coach Jacques Nienaber did state, though. “There are two types. One is external pressure. Can we control that? No. There’s internal pressure, the type where we demand certain standards from each other. It’s about expectations. That’s the pressure we can control.
“Internal pressure is what we focus on. External pressure, be it injuries or even speculation, is something we have to brush aside because we can’t control it. It’s no use expending energy on it. We can’t change it. It is what it is.”
A host of comments and social media backlash has naturally followed the story, with former Springbok Rob Louw posting an insensitive comment to Twitter which read: “I don’t understand the Springboks selectors now that Elton scores he gets sent home,” with the post followed by a laughing emoji.
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South Africa’s director of rugby Rassie Erasmus, who was tagged in the post, has now responded emphatically.
“Rob you tagged me, so I guess you want a response. I have obviously been guilty of making comments/fun of stuff like this in the past! When I see the suffering & damage to innocent children & parents involved I tend to think twice before I comment (just respect for the families).”
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According to an article in Sunday newspaper Rapport, Jantjies and Simjee were involved in an alleged tryst at a bed and breakfast in the week leading up to the Test against the All Blacks in Nelspruit in August.
It’s cast a considerable shadow over any possible return to the Springboks for Jantjies, with plenty of reaction on social media suggesting that the 32-year-old should not return to the team after this latest indiscretion.
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However, SA Rugby president Mark Alexander has suggested that they still needed to accurately gather all the facts before deciding whether further action would be taken, while he also questioned the anonymous sources who disclosed the information to Rapport.
“We have very strict team rules and the management team will deal with the issue,” Alexander said. “I don’t want to dig into anyone’s personal life because all the information is hearsay right now. It’s still just gossip.
“If people are so serious about what happened, they should go on the record about what they know,” added Alexander.
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Late on Sunday night, Jantjies made an interesting social media post on Instagram, sharing an image to his story that states: “I prefer to distance myself whenever I’m mad to calm my mind otherwise I become the most heartless person you’ll ever meet.”
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Jantjies has over 110 000 followers on Instagram, with his bio reading as follows: “Sportsman of Loyalty, Respect and Honour”.
This latest shocking story comes just months after Jantjies was detained at OR Tambo International Airport for a widely-publicised incident on board a flight back to South Africa.
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At the time, the Springboks stated that Jantjies had to be viewed as “innocent until proven guilty”, but it was never a good look as he remained part of the squad.
On Sunday, the Springboks have released a statement in relation to the most recent report, but suggested that ‘no team protocols had been breached’.
“The Springbok management are aware of reports regarding Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies and team dietician Zeenat Simjee between the training camp in Sabie and the Test match against New Zealand in Mbombela earlier this year.
“No team protocols were breached, but the individuals are returning to South Africa to attend to these personal reports and to eliminate any distractions to the team’s preparations for the Test against Argentina. No further comment will be made at this time.”