The news that Springboks fly-half Elton Jantjis and nutritionist Zeenat Simji have been sent home from Argentina following reports of an alleged affair sparked a naturally widespread and dramatic reaction.
A flurry of comments and reactions on social media naturally followed the story, with the former Springboks posting a comment on Twitter that read: “I don’t understand the Springboks selectors now that Elton has scored and he’s been sent home,” followed by a laughing emoji.
South Africa’s director of rugby Rassie Erasmus, who was named in the post, has now responded.
“Rob, you tagged me, so I guess you need an answer. Obviously I’ve been guilty of commenting/making fun of stuff like this in the past! When I see the suffering and harm to the innocent children and parents involved, I tend to think twice before commenting (just out of respect for the families).”
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According to an article in the Sunday newspaper ReportJantjies and Simji were involved in an alleged meeting at a bed and breakfast hotel a week before the Test against the All Blacks in Nelspruit in August.
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It casts a heavy shadow over any potential return of Giangies to the Springboks, with plenty of reaction on social media suggesting the 32-year-old should not return to the team after this latest indiscretion.
However, SA Rugby president Mark Alexander suggested they still needed to get all the facts straight before deciding whether to take further action, while he also questioned the anonymous sources who disclosed the information Report.
“We have very strict team rules and the management team will deal with this issue,” Alexander said. “I don’t want to dig into anyone’s personal life because all the information right now is hearsay. This is just gossip so far.
“If people are so serious about what happened, they should talk about what they know,” Alexander added.
The Boks are currently preparing for their Rugby Championship clash against Argentina and insist the shocking incident has not been a distraction.
“We approached the situation professionally” assistant coach Deon Davids commented. “As a team we understand what we have to focus on and I can assure you that is a big challenge ahead of us against Argentina.”
It is understood that the reaction on social media was more severe.
Late Sunday night, Jantjies made an interesting social media post on Instagram, sharing an image to his story that read: “I prefer to distance myself whenever I’m angry to calm my mind, otherwise I’ll be the most heartless person you’ll ever meet.”
Jantjies has over 110,000 followers on Instagram and his bio reads: “An athlete of loyalty, respect and honor.”
Jantjies has been in the news for all the wrong reasons this year
This latest shocking story comes just months after Jantjis was detained at O.R. International Airport. Tambo for the highly publicized incident on board the flight back to South Africa.
At the time, the Springboks said Jantjies should be considered “innocent until proven guilty”, but that was never a good look as he remained part of the squad.
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The point is that Jantjies has also continued to struggle purely from a rugby perspective, with a nightmare return from injury in the opening match against Wales, while coming off the bench in the recent loss against Australia.
Yantses is now 32 years old and his position as “back-up” to Handre Pollard has effectively already ceded to Damian Willemse, while Johan Goosen will soon be back in the running for selection.
After this latest incident, which really tarnishes the Bok brand and the team’s values, it is of course difficult to see how Jantjies could be welcomed back into the fold of a team he so clearly disrespected if Sunday’s reports turn out to be true.
Jantjies will not feature in the final two Rugby Championship Tests and his services may not be required again during the end-of-year tour.
With the 2023 World Cup fast approaching and the Springboks certainly determined to avoid unnecessary distractions, this could well be the end of the road for Jantjies’ Test career for the foreseeable future.
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The Springboks released a statement on Sunday in response to the report, but suggested that “no team protocols were breached”.
“The Springbok management is aware of the reports regarding Springbok fly-half Elton Jantjis and team nutritionist Zeenat Simjee between the training camp in Sabi and the Test match against New Zealand in Mbombela earlier this year.
“No team protocols have been breached but people are going back to South Africa to review these personal reports and remove any distractions from the team’s preparations for the match against Argentina. There will be no further comment at this time.”
According to a Sunday newspaper report, Jantjies and Simji were spotted by a father and son from Pretoria who had booked a room next door.
“(My son) told me it wasn’t Elton’s wife because he knows what she looks like.” said the father Report. “We’ve lost every last shred of respect for Elton.”
A man from Pretoria apparently even recorded the “sounds of pleasure” coming from the room during the day. However, a heated argument reportedly broke out early the next morning.
“It was horrible, horrible swearing and screaming,” said the man from Pretoria. “I heard Elton at one stage begging, ‘Please my baby. Please, my love.’