Steyn tells of ‘shock’ at getting captaincy

2013-02-20 00:00

SPRINGBOK centre Francois Steyn admitted yesterday he had been “shocked” when handed the Sharks’ captaincy by coach John Plumtree last week.

The 25-year-old Steyn has taken over from the injured Keegan Daniel and will lead the Sharks against the Cheetahs in the Super Rugby opener in Bloemfontein on Saturday evening.

“It was a bit of a shock when Plum asked me, but I’m over it now and just trying to do my best.”

Coach John Plumtree, in naming his new captain last week, said the talented and headstrong Steyn had matured in recent years: “He went to France as a boy and returned as a man.”

But Steyn does not believe he has changed his spots.

“I’m still the same guy, though Plum might disagree. It’s difficult to say, I’m just trying to be the same and enjoy my life.

“When you’re younger, you don’t think about the team that much. You just want to play. But now I’m one of the senior guys and I can’t be the guy making mistakes. I need to be more responsible and try to lead by example, but I do have senior guys like Jacques Botes, Jean Deysel and Jannie du Plessis to help make decisions.

“I just need to play my game and lead by example.”

Steyn said he had been mightily impressed by the youngsters in the squad and the way they had performed in Nelspruit on Friday.

“I’m looking forward to playing next to them this season for all the opportunities I could get.”

His first challenge will come in his hometown, Bloemfontein, on Saturday. “The Cheetahs are always tough for us. We’ve made it even harder in the past when we put a mental block on the game. They have been known to be our bogey side, but if we play our own game and control our set-pieces, then we’ll definitely be in with a shout of winning.”

Plumtree is keeping his starting line-up under wraps, but said selection had been on a horses-for-courses basis.

Experience and the Cheetahs approach had influenced his selection, he added. The indications are that Charl McLeod will start ahead of Cobus Reinach at scrumhalf, with Ryan Kankowski, just back from Japan, at number eight.

“The pre-season is always very long for every player at every franchise but we’re now ready to go, we’re looking forward to it.”

The Sharks’ Super Rugby squad of 35 was also confirmed yesterday and there are no surprises apart from the inclusion of just two scrumhalves in McLeod and Reinach. “We have a couple of good U21 scrumhalves and we’re also interested in Tian Meyer [College Rovers],” said Plumtree.”

Saturday’s match in Bloemfontein kicks off at 5.05 pm.

Sharks Super Rugby squad: Willem Alberts, Meyer Bosman, Jacques Botes, Anton Bresler, Craig Burden, Dale Chadwick, Marcell Coetzee, Kyle Cooper, Keegan Daniel, Allan Dell, Jean Deysel, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Monde Hadebe, Wiehahn Herbst, Butch James, Paul Jordaan, Ryan Kankowski, Patrick Lambie, Louis Ludik, Jandre Marais, Peet Marais, Charl McLeod, Tendai Mtawarira, Lubabalo Mtembu, Lwazi Mvovo, Odwa Ndungane, JP Pietersen, Cobus Reinach, Sibusiso Sithole, Francois Steyn, Franco van der Merwe, Riaan Viljoen, Tim Whitehead.

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