Steyn: Even now I still hate losing

In the latest SA Rugby magazine, World Cup winner Frans Steyn says the one bit of advice he would give his 19-year-old self would be to be a bit more patient.

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Steyn, who turned 33 earlier this month, is set to complete a highly-anticipated move from French club Montpellier to the Cheetahs.

He has signalled his intentions of going into farming full-time on his farm just outside Aliwal North, but for now, he has his sights set on the Pro14. It should also serve as ideal preparation for the Springboks’ next major international series, the 2021 British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa.

As a fresh-faced youngster, Steyn was part of the successful Bok squad that won the 2009 series against the Lions, and apart from Beast Mtawarira, he is the only Springbok from that series who played in the 2019 World Cup final against England. With Mtawarira having since called time on his international career, Steyn could be the only member of Peter de Villiers’ squad to face the touring team 12 years later.

There are still a handful of those Springboks playing, such as Ruan Pienaar, Morne Steyn and Bismarck du Plessis, and oddly enough they all have a Bloemfontein connection, but only Frans Steyn appears to be in the national picture.

He fondly recalls the time he spent at the renowned rugby school, where he watch Pienaar and Du Plessis develop.

‘It definitely gave me a lot of confidence because from Grade 8 onwards I saw guys like Ruan Pienaar and Bismarck du Plessis playing rugby. Then after school, you see these guys making a success of their rugby careers. When you see this, you think to yourself that you can do it as well as and you also want to follow that same path,’ he tells SA Rugby magazine.

‘That really helped a lot of the self-confidence. The other thing was that at that school, losing was never accepted and winning was a non-negotiable. That was and still is a big thing for me and even at this point in my career I still hate losing.

‘The one bit of advice I would give my 19-year-old self is to be a bit more patient,’ he adds. ‘Even now I don’t have much patience and that is one of my weaknesses. If I want to do or have something done, it should have been done three months ago.’

The Cheetahs may not have the biggest budget for players, but the double World Cup-winner insists it was an easy decision to join the Free State side.

‘I am happy about the move and one can only thank coach Hawies Fourie who really wants me at the Cheetahs. I hope I will be able to make an impact. I played pretty much everywhere in the world, played two seasons in Japan, returned to the Sharks for a stint, and also played for Racing and Montpellier [in France]. I was able to adapt quite well everywhere. I am sure I will be able to adapt again and bring something to the table.’

*The full interview with Steyn features in the latest issue of SA Rugby magazine, which is now on sale.

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