Frans Steyn is determined to make the most of every opportunity that comes his way after settling in at the Cheetahs this season, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
In a special cover feature that headlines the latest SA Rugby magazine, Steyn opened up about his return to the Springbok fold last year, his World Cup memories and what it meant for him to now be back in Bloemfontein.
Steyn was schooled at revered rugby school Grey College and, although he represented Free State at junior level, he joined the Sharks as a 19-year-old, where he quickly became one of the most highly-regarded young players in South African rugby.
In 2006, Steyn would also make his Springbok debut and went on to play a starring role when Jake White’s team secured the World Cup title the following year. Since then, Steyn’s career has taken him from Durban to France, back to the Sharks, then to Japan and Montpellier, and finally to the Cheetahs.
Having always harboured hopes of one day returning to Bloemfontein, a Free State property was already purchased in the first half of 2019, with Steyn and his wife prioritising the opportunity for their three young daughters to be schooled in South Africa.
‘I really can’t believe it’s worked out the way it did, it’s a dream come true to play for Cheetahs,’ Steyn commented. ‘I really enjoy the people here, especially my teammates and coaches.
‘And when it comes to my family, it’s the perfect place for us to bring up our daughters. I went to school here and had an awesome upbringing in the Free State, and would love my daughters to have the same.’
On the rugby front, the Cheetahs started the Vodacom Super Rugby Unlocked campaign in impressive fashion, but a couple of disruptions since then ultimately had the side slip to fourth in the final standings.
As competition now switches to the Currie Cup, the Cheetahs will be looking to defend their domestic title while, on a personal level, Steyn will be hoping to send out another reminder that he still has plenty of rugby left in him.
‘At the moment I just want to play well for Cheetahs, for us to do well as a team, and I don’t want to think about other stuff at the moment,’ the 33-year-old said when asked whether his sights were set on a second British & Irish Lions series next year.
‘I’m still trying to find my feet at the Cheetahs. To be honest, I’ve been playing a kicking game for so long in my career, that there will still be those old habits that I will need to get out of my game.
‘I’m working hard at that and trying to make the best of each opportunity I get and, if I’m good enough, and Rassie [Erasmus] still sees something in me at that time, then that would be massive [to face the Lions again].
‘But, at this stage, I’m just focused on the Cheetahs and doing my bit.’