I don't think age is a thing in rugby
Elton Jantjies believes that his loan season with the Stormers will provide the perfect environment to take his game to the next level.
The Springbok flyhalf will play a full Super Rugby season for the Cape side next year and then return to play in the Currie Cup with the Golden Lions, after which he will make a decision on his long-term future.
This will give him the opportunity to measure up against the rest of the contenders for the Bok No.10 jersey in the first half of the year before heading back to Johannesburg to fulfill his contract with the Lions.
With Morne Steyn at the Bulls, Pat Lambie at the Sharks and Johan Goosen at the Cheetahs the South African Super Rugby conference is shaping up to be something of a flyhalf shoot-out next year, and Jantjies believes that the environment at the Stormers will give him an ideal opportunity show what he is capable of.
The Cape side topped the Super Rugby table this year and showed great character and depth to bounce back from their semifinal exit of that competition to win the Currie Cup as underdogs away from home, so Jantjies could hardly have a better platform from which to develop his game.
Jantjies told this website that the amount of young talent at the Stormers and their committed approach makes them the perfect fit for him next year.
"I think they have an awesome coach and I think they have got a lot of youth and excitement there. I can just see myself fitting in there and I think that they are playing a good style of rugby so I think I will enjoy it there.
"They are very based on team emphasis and I think that from the outside it looks like an awesome environment to be in, and I like to be in a comfortable environment," he said.
Although they effectively ended his Currie Cup season Jantjies has been encouraged by the fight that the young Province pack showed at the end of the Currie Cup, and is also looking forward to linking up with what will be an all-Bok backline bar the scrumhalf.
"They were awesome, especially the tight five. Everybody said 'they don't have experience', but age is just a number, I don't think age is a thing in rugby.
"Their backs were great as well. They have got good experience, Jean de Villiers and Bryan [Habana] and Juan [De Jongh] and Gio [Aplon] - all of them play for the Springboks so I can only see good things coming.
"Their scrumhalves like Nic Groom and Louis Schreuder have also been playing well so if we gel together then it will be great," he said.
With that exciting mix of youth and experience Jantjies is confident that he will be able to move his game beyond what he has shown in his short career already, in what will be something of a homecoming for a former Province fan.
"I can only grow and grow, I will have to work hard on a few things in my game, but I will just keep doing what I do," he said.
"I lived in Cape Town for a few years and then moved to Joburg, and when I started playing for the Lions my heart changed to the Lions but I was a Province supporter all along," added Jantjies.
Before he heads to Cape Town Jantjies will have the small matter of the Springbok year-end tour, and as the man who took over from injured Goosen against the All Blacks he finds himself as the incumbent flyhalf.
With Steyn and Lambie also named in the squad Jantjies does not expect to waltz into the starting line-up, but is hopeful of gaining more experience in European conditions than he did in 2010.
"I am just going to go out there and enjoy it, I think it is going to be an awesome experience playing in that type of weather, that type of environment and with that type of pressure.
"I think it is going to be awesome if I get game-time playing overseas. In 2010 I only played against the Barbarians so I am really looking forward to the tour and I think it is going to be awesome for the guys who are also young and learning, I think we can only go forward," he said.
By Michael de Vries