Jantjes excited about Super 14

PUBLISHED: December 7, 2008

Vodacom Stormers fullback Conrad Jantjes is keen to continue in the rich vein of form he has shown for Vodacom WP in the Currie Cup competition this year.

Jantjes had an outstanding season for his adopted province and was rewarded with inclusion in the Springbok team for the short end-of-year tour to England and Wales.

The fullback is not busy preparing with his Stormers team-mates for the Super 14 season. They will be starting a two-week training camp in George on Sunday.

Jantjes recently was also voted as the Club Newland supporters Vodacom WP Player of the Season – an indication of the impact he made the past season.

He admitted he felt proud of being recognized in that way by the supporters. “Ja, it certainly makes me feel good. I had some fun on the field this year and made a decision not to worry too much about criticism and it worked for me.”

Now he was looking forward to getting reacquainted with his former Lions team-mates Gcobani Bobo and Wylie Human. The two have joined the Stormers from the Sharks and Lions respectively.

Jantjes said he knows what it was like to come from another province and trying to find your feet. “I know how I battled initially to settle down and fit in, so I try my best to help these guys to settle in, especially Wylie. Bobs grew up here and he knows Cape Town, but I am a bit worried about Wylie!

“And don’t forget about a youngster like Luke Titus, who comes from Australia. It is a massive change for him. I know what I went through, that is why I try to help them, even with finding accommodation.”

Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus also reinforced his squad by bringing in forwards such as Adriaan Fondse, Hanyani Shimange and Brian Mujati. Jantjes believes all the newcomers could add value to the Stormers’ cause next season.

“It is always good to get new faces on board. All of them are experienced campaigners. I don’t know how or where the coach wants to play them, but I am sure they will add to the team.

“Fondse is a good acquisition because we need a bit of grunt upfront. I also think the new rule changes are going to require everybody to up their skill levels and Bobs and Wylie have lots of skills.”

Jantjes said thus far the squad had put in a lot of hard work. “With the law changes the ball is going to be in play a lot more, so the guys realize we are going to have to be a lot fitter than previously.

“Honestly speaking, if I take our pre-season now compared to last year’s, we are far ahead to last year. Next year hopefully we can get a good start.

“There really is a positive vibe in the camp, although the guys realize it is first of all going to be a fight for places. Competition is always healthy and the guys are out to impress the new coach.

“That should bring the best out of the guys.”