Departing Steyn blames squad disharmony for Stade Francais disarray

Bulls flyhalf Morne Steyn (Gallo Images)
Bulls flyhalf Morne Steyn (Gallo Images)

Paris - South Africa's most-capped flyhalf Morne Steyn claimed the lack of squad unity is to blame for Stade Francais sitting bottom of the French Top 14 table, after playing his last game for the club.

Steyn, 35, who won 66 caps for the Springboks, will return to former side the Bulls after six years with the Parisians who have managed only two victories from their opening nine games of the season.

"Not everyone is on the same page. Everyone is not following the same things we want to do. That's the main reason," Steyn told AFP after Sunday's derby defeat to Racing 92.

Steyn said it was a different case with the Springbok squad who lifted the Rugby World Cup in Japan earlier this month.

"All their arrows are in one direction. If someone makes a mistake, the other guys is fixing it for him," he said.

"You can see the vibe of the team has been great and everybody is playing for each other. I feel here at Stade Francais is not the same," he added.

Stade coach Heyneke Meyer, who has a league-leading budget of 40 million euros ($44.4 million), has received the backing of the club's owner Hans-Peter Wild despite the dismal start to the campaign.

Meyer has known Steyn since he was a teenager having worked with him at the Bulls, where they won a Super Rugby title, and with the Springboks before the 52-year-old joined the French capital city outfit in 2018.

"Morne is a warrior. He played so many Test matches just from hard work. He's an inspiration to players, to me," Meyer said.

"He will help the young flyhalves there (in South Africa) and he'll help the backs. Super Rugby is a little bit quicker but he's still fit enough. He's definitely going to help them," he added.

Steyn, who lifted the Top 14 and the European Challenge Cup during his time with Stade, said he plans to retire after his second spell with the Pretoria-based franchise.

"I wanted to stay in Paris for another year or two but I couldn't. I had the opportunity to go back to the Bulls, it's great. I started there so I would like to finish my career there," he said.

"I'm looking forward to having a different role. Be a bit of a coach to the young guys. Hopefully I can bring a different vibe to the team and enjoy the last two or three years of rugby,"

The veteran outside-half swaps countries with Springboks' World Cup winner Handre Pollard who leaves Loftus Versfeld for Montpellier and had a word of advice for the playmaker.

"The language is a big challenge so the more effort you put into that the easier it will come."

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