Steyn wants a break

2014-06-11 00:00

TENSION between versatile backline player Frans Steyn and his employer, the South Africa Rugby Union (Saru), boiled over yesterday on the eve of the Springboks’ first 2014 Test.

On his own request, Steyn yesterday withdrew from the Bok team to play Wales in Durban on Saturday.

He also indicated he does not want to be considered for further Tests in June. He instead asked for time to ponder his Bok career and there is even a chance that he will only play for South Africa when the issue with Saru has been resolved.

According to a source near the Bok team Steyn is unhappy about a promise that Saru made to him when he returned from the French club team Racing Metro to the Sharks.

Because of the unkept promise the 27-year-old Steyn is now reportedly playing for less than half of what he could have earned in France. The reported promise from Saru could not be verified last night.

Sister paper Volksblad has however learnt Steyn and Saru officials had been in spirited talks two weeks ago during a Bok camp in Durban.

Steyn reportedly spelt out the reasons for his unhappiness, got into his car and did not participate further in the camp.

Steyn yesterday said in a Saru statement the atmosphere in the Bok camp was fantastic.

“The environment in the Springbok squad is fantastic and I would like to state categorically that my relationship with [head coach] Heyneke Meyer, the rest of the management and my team-mates is very good,” said Steyn, who has 53 international caps.

He is however expected to depart for a Japanese club when he has completed his contractual obligations with the Sharks after the Currie Cup series.

Saru’s CEO, Jurie Roux, yesterday said in a statement he had spoken at length with Steyn about his request and the union had decided to allow it. “He had asked for time to reconsider his international career and we have to respect it.”

Roux said he want to state clearly that Steyn was not retiring from international rugby, but had requested a break from playing at international level.

Roux said Steyn had asked that his privacy be respected. Although it is not the ideal situation, according to Roux, he believed Meyer and his selection committee would be able to work around Steyn’s unavailability for the team. The Bok team management also respects his decision and will not be involved in any speculation.

Steyn’s agent, Cape Town attorney Gerrie Swart,

did not want to comment last night.

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