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Jantjies relishing first Currie Cup playoff since 2011

Emirates Lions and Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies will play in his first Currie Cup playoff match against the Sharks in Durban, since winning the coveted trophy with the franchise in 2011.

Elton Jantjies during training with the Golden Lions. Picture: @LionsRugbyCo/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Golden Lions and Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies will play in his first Currie Cup playoff match against the Sharks in Durban, since winning the coveted trophy with the franchise in 2011.

Jantjies has been through some tumultuous times in his rugby playing career, which has seen him endure injuries and a tough stint on loan to the Stormers when the Lions were relegated from Super Rugby in 2013.

Coupled with time spent away on Springbok duty, Jantjies’ first Currie Cup game since 2013 was against the Pumas last week in the final round robin phase, and says he is looking forward to playing in the semifinal in Durban.

“It was definitely exciting to play some Currie Cup rugby again after a few years especially after a really good Super Rugby campaign and being with the Boks recently. When I heard I was going to be playing Currie Cup again it gave me new energy in my life again and the Currie Cup is something that I have always cherished.”

A lot has changed in Currie Cup rugby since Jantjies last played in the domestic competition. The number of teams involved has chopped and changed and this year’s campaign featured only six rounds of the round-robin phase but Jantjies says not a lot has changed for him.

“The only difference I felt when I played against the Pumas last week was actually playing Currie Cup but not a lot has changed in the competition. The quality of rugby hasn’t gone down but in the years gone by there were much older guys playing Currie Cup compared to now where there are a lot of youngsters playing.”

The now 28-year-old Jantjies says that the Lions approach to the semifinal clash against the Sharks won't change from what they’ve always done and that is to score tries.

“For me, the value systems don’t change for us. For the last five years, we have always wanted to score tries and play a brand of rugby that we know and love. We aren’t going to deviate from that, it is our foundation which we always fall back to when times are tough and when times are good.”

It hasn’t been a smooth ride for the Super Rugby finalists in Ivan van Rooyen’s first season as head coach of the Currie Cup side. They have lost two matches as opposed to the Sharks solitary loss which means the Durban-based outfit will go into the match as favourites.

The return of Springboks such as Jantjies for the Lions could even out the contest though with a mouthwatering semifinal expected at Kings Park.

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