Frans Steyn is expected to relocate to Bloemfontein once his contract with French club Montpellier concludes next year. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
The 31-year-old has been plying his trade in France since 2016, having established himself as an integral member of the Montpellier side over the past few seasons. It’s Steyn’s second stint in France, with the World Cup winner also previously featuring for Racing between 2009 and 2012.
Although Steyn is still playing at the top of his game, SARugbymag.co.za has learned that he has recently purchased a property in Bloemfontein, with the aim of returning to the Free State along with his family once his current contract with Montpellier concludes at the end of June 2020.
Steyn was schooled at the 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 finally Montpellier.
However, it’s understood that he always harboured hopes of one day returning to Bloemfontein, and to perhaps even finishing his career in a Cheetahs jersey. Having already purchased a home in Bloemfontein, Steyn and his wife will also have the opportunity for their three young daughters to be schooled in South Africa.
For now, the 56-Test cap Springbok is still enjoying his rugby and the lifestyle in France, but he is unlikely to extend his contract beyond the 2019-20 season.
When one considers that he will only be turning 32 this May, there is every chance that he could then spend the twilight of his career at the Cheetahs.
Although it is believed that there are no advanced negotiations taking place at this early stage, it’s understood that the powers that be at the Cheetahs are aware of Steyn’s impending return to Bloemfontein.
Just last week, the Cheetahs received a boost by extending their sponsorship with Toyota for another three years, and they would surely welcome Steyn back with open arms.
Photo: Manuel Blondeau/Icon Spor