'I didn't think I'd be standing here and being interviewed by you guys‚' says Herschel Jantjies
Herschel Jantjies tried his best to hide his broad grin on Monday when it was announced that he would be part of the 31-man Springbok squad for the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
From a seniority perspective‚ he's the most junior of the national team players.
That explained why he was so happy and he also was the first player to be called on stage when the squad was revealed in Randburg.
Jantjies's Test debut against Australia last month was a hair-raisingly exciting one where he scored two tries.
He also scored the match-tying try against the All Blacks in Wellington a week later.
A lot has happened in a short time for Jantjies‚ he's let it sink in‚ but he's not taking it for granted.
“I won't say I was shocked‚ but it definitely was a surprised.
"At the beginning of the year‚ I didn't think I'd be standing here and being interviewed by you guys having been selected for the World Cup squad‚” Jantjies said.
“I started to think about it the first time I was invited to the camp.
"I think then things started to snowball from there.
"If you come into a set-up where everyone is a level above you‚ you strive to be at that level.
"I want to be at that level.”
Jantjies may have been educated at Paul Roos Gimnasium‚ but he's from Kylemore‚ 11km from Stellenbosch.
Paul Roos have produced the most Springboks by any school and have four representatives in the Rugby World Cup squad.
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Jantjies‚ who is one of three scrumhalves in the squad‚ said he wants to be an inspiration to others.
“There's only one Springbok and that's me.
"Kylemore is a small place‚ a small community but a close one.
"It's not the best environment for a young kid to grow up but there's some good stuff coming out of the place.
"If I can put some hope into youngsters‚ then it's mission achieved for me‚” Jantjies said.
“There were a lot of people at my home before I came up to Johannesburg.
"If you have a vision‚ you believe in it‚ put your heart and your soul into it‚ you can actually achieve it.
"It won't be easy and I didn't have it easy.
"There's guys that make it straight out of school and there are guys who go on to play 110 games for the Springboks.
"I aspire to be one of those guys who play many Tests and not one of those who just went to a World Cup.
"I want to make myself‚ the people of South African and my parents proud.”