Frans Steyn: 'Two years ago who would have thought we’d beat Australia?'

22 July 2019 - 17:05
By Liam Del Carme
Frans Steyn of the Springboks tries to break away from Wallabies players during their championship rugby encounter at Emirates Airline Park
Image: Masi Losi Frans Steyn of the Springboks tries to break away from Wallabies players during their championship rugby encounter at Emirates Airline Park

Now vastly experienced‚ Frans Steyn 2.0 has been unleashed on the international scene.

He is barely recognisable from the precociously gifted 19-year old who made his Test debut in 2006 and who got to lift the Webb Ellis Cup a year later.

The flowing locks are gone but with time‚ maturity‚ and dare we say‚ wisdom‚ have been bestowed on Steyn while he plied his trade in France.

Steyn‚ who last played for the Springboks in 2017‚ was supposed to be back in the set-up last year but injury precluded his involvement.

“I got injured in the final. I couldn’t lift my arm. There was something on the bone.

"It was tough. I’m just glad Rassie (Erasmus) gave me another chance‚” said Steyn after the Boks beat the Wallabies 35-17 at Ellis Park.

“I can’t remember when last I played here. It can be 10 years‚” said Steyn‚ whose memory clearly failed him.

The last time he played for the Boks was in fact at Ellis Park two years ago.

“It was something special‚" he continued.

"I tried enjoying it as much as I can because they can send me back to France tomorrow. And then it’s over.”

Steyn‚ whose last four Test appearances have all been off the bench‚ admits that there is such detail to the Bok method these days that it takes a while to take it all in.

“I’m still trying to get into Rassie’s game plan and structures that they have‚" he said.

"No one is ever happy not to start but I’m actually happy I didn’t start because I’m still trying to get used to the structures and the stuff.

“In France I can’t say we don’t get coached that well but Rassie and his team have really stepped up and it is very professional.”

Steyn appears less impetuous than he was when he left South Africa for Racing Metro a decade ago.

He is level-headed enough to know his selection now isn’t necessarily a guaranteed path to RWC selection.

“I don’t know. That’s Rassie’s decision‚" he said.

"I’m here enjoying my time.

"My wife is in Bloemfontein with the kids. I’ve been overseas a long while now.

“I know our country has its problems but we are fortunate with what we have. I’m just enjoying South Africa at the moment.”

He has also been around long enough to know that his time with the Boks won’t be plain sailing.

“I’ve had my ups and downs‚" he said.

"There will be screw ups but that is part of the game and it builds character.”

The 32-year-old was left enthused by the Bok performance against the Wallabies.

“We are a bunch of different guys being thrown together‚" he said.

"There are about 13 guys over (in New Zealand) already. For us to have won is amazing.

"That was a good win.

"We made mistakes and there will be people who will say we were lucky but this is Test rugby and we won.

"That is what matters.

“There are 13 guys in New Zealand and we still beat Australia.

"Two years ago who would have thought we’d beat Australia? I was sitting overseas and I wouldn’t have said this.

“It is just unbelievable what Rassie and SA Rugby did.”