Herschel Jantjies believes Stormers' grass is still greener: 'Staying here is a nicer challenge'

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Herschel Jantjies. (Photo by Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images)
Herschel Jantjies. (Photo by Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images)
  • Herschel Jantjies begrudges no player going overseas, but he believes the best course of action for his career is to stay put at the Stormers.
  • The Springbok scrumhalf, who committed till 2024 last week, argues that building on the Stormers project is a bigger challenge than an overseas assignment.
  • Assistant coach Dawie Snyman also pointed out that going abroad meant Jantjies would "have to build an innings again", while in SA he's a key man.

He has absolutely no issue if others believe the old adage, but for Herschel Jantjies the grass isn't always greener on the other side.

The 25-year-old Springbok scrumhalf provided the Stormers with a huge boost last week following his decision to renew his contract for another two years, a ringing endorsement for the direction the much-maligned franchise is heading in ... at least on the field.

"The biggest consideration for me is the position I find myself in at this stage of my career. Going for money and a new experience overseas might make it seem as if the grass is greener but it's not always," Jantjies said on Monday as the Stormers prepare for Sunday's United Rugby Championship meeting with Zebre in Stellenbosch.

"I believe staying here is actually the nicer challenge. I firmly believe I can stay here and also achieve success. It's been a long journey for us to get where we're playing now. This is something we've been building towards and it's not something I want to leave now."

The Stormers have had their fair share of departures over the past 24 months, notably the Springbok trio of Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Bongi Mbonambi, while a chief architect of the current up-turn - Warrick Gelant - is primed for a move to France.

But the retention of Jantjies, in-demand second rower Salmaan Moerat and ace play-maker Damian Willemse suggests there might be scope for a long-term moulding by head coach John Dobson.

Jantjies also makes no secret of the fact that family considerations played a huge role in his decision to stay.

"It's all up to a player in the end whether he stays or not. There's still a lot I can learn here. It's a mindset thing," he said.

"Some say the earlier you go overseas the better, but the rugby remains the important thing. You have to perform wherever you find yourself. 

"My father always told me I'm not going anywhere, that finishing school is the most important thing. So from the outset, family was a very big thing for me. I needed them to perform well in my rugby, that support system is a massive factor.

"We've seen a few young guys go over and get a bit lost in terms of the direction their career goes. It’s not a decision you make overnight. You need to carefully consider everything."

Dawie Snyman, the Stormers' skills and attack coach, is understandably chuffed that Jantjies has give team management a thumbs-up, but rather emphasises that the half-back's decision is good for his personal development than the nous of the coaches.

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"It's massive for us, particularly in the sense that players of his calibre are seeing the potential of this group and have a desire for leaving a legacy behind," he said.

"We want guys that want to stay and help breed success. He's a Springbok and having him here means every time he goes on national duty he comes back with new insights.

"That’s why we want Herschel to give input and make him a leader. If he were to go now, he’d have to build an innings again overseas while here he’s a leader and our first-choice candidate at scrumhalf.

He speaks in meetings and comes up with plans. I believe that’s good for his development, hugely important."

The Stormers take on Zebre at the Danie Craven Stadium at 18:00 on Sunday.   

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