Former Maties and Griquas player Kyle Steyn was delighted to make his debut for Scotland in Sunday’s Six Nations win over France in Edinburgh, writes ANDRE HUISAMEN.
Speaking to SA Rugby magazine, Steyn explained his unbelievable experience of getting a first taste of international rugby in front of the famous Murrayfield crowd.
After representing the Scotland Sevens team back in 2018 and joining Glasgow Warriors last season, the Johannesburg-born backline player finally got the call-up to be included in the 23-man squad for Sunday’s encounter.
The 26-year-old made his presence felt as he took the field as 66th- minute substitute to help Scotland claim a famous victory over a Grand Slam-chasing French outfit.
In front of his family, fiancée and close friends, Steyn completed a boyhood dream … something that looked miles away during his playing time in South Africa.
‘To finally make my debut was pretty unreal. I kind of wish I could go back to Sunday; it all went by way too quickly but standing in the tunnel at Murrayfield, waiting to go out was unbelievable. I could hear the crowd and as we walked out there flames going off and people cheering, it all just gave me goosebumps. I tried to look around and take it all in,’ said Steyn.
Steyn’s father, Rory, former head of security for president Nelson Mandela, was in the stands for the occasion sitting alongside Kyle’s fiancée, Ally, and a couple of his cousins.
Cap number for @kylesteyn
Cap number for @fraserjmbrown
— Glasgow Warriors (@GlasgowWarriors) March 9, 2020
Rory and Ally rarely missed a game Steyn played at the Danie Craven Stadium back in his Varsity Cup days and even made the sacrifice of traveling to Kimberley on a regular basis to see him run out for Griquas.
But, Sunday’s 14 minutes on the field was something bigger than Steyn had ever imagined.
‘Singing the Flower of Scotland anthem was just unbelievable. Standing next to your close mates, grabbing them and then trying to find my dad and Ally in the crowd, it was all so unreal. When I found out I was finally going to go on to the field I was quite nervous, I was breathing pretty deeply.
‘A couple of the boys ran over and congratulated me, which was pretty epic. Then after a couple of involvements the nerves settled, my lungs were blowing because I was just trying to get involved, so after that I was pretty much just focused on the game.’
Steyn had twice in the past been involved with the bigger Scotland training squad, during last year’s Six Nations and in the buildup to the 2019 World Cup in Japan but a first run in the jersey continued to evade him.
Finally, his debut made it all come together and it was worth every second he had to wait.
‘I was part of the World Cup training squad but was pretty gutted not be a part of the final squad there, but to make my debut in the end on Sunday was well worth the wait. It was everything that I dreamt of and probably a bit more. I was on cloud nine and to be able to share it with my friends and family was awesome.’
Sunday’s short stint was only the beginning, however, after Steyn proved that he is more than capable of fronting up to the challenges of international rugby – especially in a Six Nations cauldron.
Now, he is setting his sights on building the momentum, continuing to work hard and eventually cracking the starting XV.
‘I now have to try to be in the side as regularly as possible.
‘I’ve got to play well to keep myself in the 23-man squad for the Wales game, go back to Glasgow and keep playing well and then get on to the summer tour. It is a highly competitive arena, we will all go away to our clubs now and finish off the season, so it’s just about making sure you put your best foot forward,’ he said.