Saru ‘broke promise’

2014-06-12 00:00

SPRINGBOK centre Frans Steyn withdrew from the Bok squad because the South African Rugby Union did not keep the agreement with which the union had lured the highly paid Steyn back to South Africa.

The promises were made before he agreed to return from the French club Racing Metro to play for the Sharks.

Steyn’s father, Piet, who farms in the Free State, said it was not just money that was at stake. Steyn Snr said “other issues” were also taken into consideration before the centre packed his bags.

He did not want to elaborate.

“If it only was about the money, Frans would not have come back from France to play in South Africa. He is in top form and is playing his best rugby. He has grown up and is taking well considered decisions.”

He said he supported his son’s decision to withdraw from the Boks and to prepare for Japan.

“We stand by him and his family and are talking to them.”

Piet said it was a tough and emotional decision to make, as a player is always humbly grateful and proud to wear the Bok jersey.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said he was disappointed that Steyn is no longer available. “But I understand and respect his decision.

“I wish him and his family just the best going forward and really hope they he will be happy, wherever they are.”

Sharks coach Jake White said Steyn may have felt he did not get the respect he deserves in the Bok team, where he may still be viewed as a 19-year-old rookie and not a 27-year-old man with his own family.

White said Steyn was not in the best possible mental place, which was why he needed to think about his future at an international level.

Steyn was very comfortable at the Sharks and had turned down a chance to rest, instead giving his all in every match, said White.

“I am someone who knows how to get the best from him.”

White said it happened a lot these days that players get close to burn-out.

“Just look how [English cricketers Marcus] Trescothick and [Jonathan] Trott had problems with depression. It is the reality of modern sport.”

He said Steyn was in a difficult situation, for if he decided to play while his focus was not fully with the Bok squad, he would be criticised, just as he would be criticised if he did not play. “It is a tough decision to be in.”

The Sharks coach said he could not comment on the rumours about broken contractual promises.

One of Steyn’s former coaches at his alma mater, Grey College, Dries van der Wal, said he did not want to speculate why Steyn had decided to withdraw from the Boks or whether he would play for South Africa in next year’s Rugby World Cup.

“We do not know what the personal reasons and background of his decision were.”

He said he, however, hoped to soon see Steyn back in the green and gold. “We need him,” he said.

Another of his former coaches at Grey, Jaco Swanepoel, agreed. He knows there is unhappiness, but does not know the circumstance or details behind it.

“Frans is really playing good rugby and is now needed for Tests, given that players like Jean de Villiers are injured.”

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