Elton Jantjies off to play in France in bid to keep fit for British and Irish Lions
JOHANNESBURG – Lions stalwart and captain, Elton Jantjies, is off to France, the Joburg-based union announced in a statement on Tuesday.
But Lions fans need not panic – the transfer is not a permanent one, but rather a move to get the Springbok flyhalf as much gametime as possible ahead of the British and Irish Lions tour later this year. With the participation of South African franchises in the Rainbow Cup now seemingly in flux, it should come as no surprise then that Jantjies has been released as a medical joker from the team and will join French Top 14 club Pau.
"Upon request from Elton Jantjies," the Lions statement read, “and in conjunction with SA Rugby, Lions Rugby Company has released the players for an opportunity as medical joker with French Club Pau in preparation for the British & Irish Lions."
The union further reiterated that despite the transfer, Jantjies remains a fully fledged Lions player.
Pau are currently 13th in the elite French league. In recent weeks the Lions have also shored up their talent in the No 10 jumper, with former Cheetahs player Fred Zeilinga joining the union in training and participating in two of the four preparation matches the team played recently. Nevertheless, the departure of Jantjies will leave a massive hole in experience within any Lions outfit, should they play in any tournaments and matches in the near future.
The 30-year-old Jantjies has played 37 Tests for the Boks, and with the availability of Handre Pollard still uncertain, his match fitness will be of paramount importance to the national team when they take on the British and Irish Lions in the coming months.
More to follow