Stormers scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies says playing instinctively is in his DNA and until now, his performances haven’t given us much reason to disagree.
Jantjies has been immense in his first full Super Rugby season with the Stormers. His quick service, presence around the fringes, and all the other touches in between have made him a standout. His attendance at one of the Springbok alignment camps is testament to that.
The 23-year-old, though, isn’t reading too much into it.
“There was nothing specific, not much technical stuff discussed, and no one-on-one; we just dealt with planning stuff relating to the Rugby Championship and then the World Cup,” he said.
“I was at the camp but my mind is not on that. I can’t be playing for the Stormers and my mind is in Japan. If I don’t play well for the Stormers then I won’t make it, so my focus is on the next four games for the Stormers and hopefully... I can go on from there."
On his playing style Jantjies said: “I do like making breaks and I do like trying things on attack and giving the opposition defence something to think about, that is just the way I have always played. I guess you can say I'm an instinctive player. I play what I see, especially when things don’t go our way in a match. I suppose it is in my DNA.”
The Stormers go up against the Highlanders at Newlands on Saturday (5.15pm) and one of the first names that come to mind when the Kiwi side is mentioned is super scrumhalf Aaron Smith.
Jantjies has many reasons to look up to Smith, though he’s under no illusion as to the road he still has to walk. “He does sum up the situation really quickly and in that regard is one to follow, and I definitely want to do that, but there is a long way to go before I can compare myself to Aaron Smith. But if I am willing to learn and focus on what I can achieve then there is no reason why I can’t achieve it.”
The Paul Roos Gymnasium, Stellenbosch, product’s defence has seen a big improvement from last year, and it’s something Stormers coach Robbie Fleck has mentioned a good few times this season.
And for good reason.
On this part of his game, Jantjies said: “I would say on a mental scale it has definitely improved as I needed to do that. I don’t want to be seen as the small guy,” said the diminutive but strong and abrasive scrumhalf.
“I don’t want to be targeted because then it will be a long 80 minutes on the field. I like to make myself known in the beginning of a match with my first tackle. If I can stop a big guy, he is not going to come at me the whole day.”@WynonaLouw