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3721 Topic: How France shaped Frans Steyn
Beeno1

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How France shaped Frans Steyn
February 13, 2013, 15:56:20

Ex Keo

Frans Steyn’s benefit from an overseas rugby playing experience is further evidence of the changing landscape of South African rugby.

Francois Louw is a better player now than when he left Western Province for Bath. Percy Montgomery returned to South Africa a more accomplished player than the 50 Test veteran who left for Wales and who many accepted was past his best and would never again play Test rugby. Montgomery added 52 Tests to his CV, won the Tri Nations and was integral to South Africa winning the World Cup in 2007.

He never turned his back on South Africa. Montgomery was drained from the routine of Super Rugby, Test Rugby, Currie Cup Rugby and Test Rugby. He wanted to experience something else and he just needed a bit of time away from the public glare. Montgomery has often told me what his time in Wales taught him was to be a rugby professional and to assume the responsibility of the overseas professional. He said he grew up as a person but more so his rugby matured because he was taken out of his comfort zone.

Ditto Louw and ditto so many other South Africans who are currently playing in Europe, the United Kingdom and Ireland, and even in Japan.

It is the way of the modern game the our best players can command the highest salaries in European club rugby and it is not a crime for any young player to want to reap the financial rewards, experience a change of pace in life, grow as a person and by circumstance of experiencing new responsibility become a better rugby player.

The vitriol from within the South African rugby support base is a common package directed at any player who wants to experience an overseas stint. Immediately he is cast as the villain and immediately the local based player is put on a pedestal of loyalty to the national jersey and the national flag. It is absurd in the context of the evolution of the sport as a profession, and it betrays the incredible value to those players who at an early age experience the overseas influence and return to South Africa in their mid 20s so much wiser and adding so much more value to rugby teams in South Africa and to the national cause.

I’ve constantly been amazed at the ‘out of sight out of mind’ attitude, especially when so much of the English Premiership, French Top 14 and Heineken Cup is shown on SuperSport, and that so many of the South African players are consistently the best performers.

Somewhere a misguided principle of patriotism has painted these South Africans as sinners to the cause of the South African game because their talent allows for interest and lucrative financial reward from Europe’s wealthiest clubs.

Ronaldo did not sell out to Portugal soccer because he earns his monthly salary at the club prepared to pay him his market value and more. The same applies to every South African soccer talent that is overseas based. I don’t want this misinterpreted as saying being based overseas makes a player automatically better than what is based in this country but why choose one or the other when the option should be to choose both or make an informed national selection based on player pedigree and form and not where the player is based.

Steyn won a World Cup at the age of 20. He had won a Tri Nations and a British and Irish Lions series at the age of 22. He needed something to rekindle the enthusiasm of the schoolboy who won his first Test cap a year after finishing his schooling. He went to Paris very much a young man with a sheltered view of the world and return a mature young man with a very different view of the world, of his own country and of his responsibility to his chosen profession.

Steyn, had he stayed in South Africa, may at 26 years old have been considering giving it all up and playing out the final four years of his career in a less demanding Japanese club environment for huge financial gain. He may have given up on the ideal of Bok rugby and contributing to rugby within South Africa because seven successive years of scrutiny and intensity within the South African rugby landscape had drained him and left him exhausted, fatigued and flat.

His move to France turned a boy into the man who John Plumtree has now entrusted with the captaincy at the Sharks.

Plumtree said Steyn was a leader of men, a player with vast experience, in South Africa and abroad, and a winner. He also knew what it meant to be a professional.(Please note Mike)

It is a fantastic endorsement from Plumtree but also reward for a player who never betrayed South African rugby and also never betrayed his love for the game. Instead he recognised what he needed to reinvent his enthusiasm and to challenge his comfort zone.

Steyn is just one example of how leaving South Africa for a short term gave him an appetite for a longer contribution to the game in South Africa.

Steyn’s story is one that hopefully continues to challenge the outdated and simply outrageous belief that a player who leaves South Africa to play abroad sells out on South African rugby and should be treated as a traitor. Judge a South African player on what he offers this country’s national rugby and not on the country in which he decides to get reward for his rugby talent.

Supporter mindsets must change because the professional status of the player has ensured that their mindsets also had to change.

I do not blame players leaving here as they are often poorly managed and the pay overseas is better.  At the moment it seems we are unable to counter these issues and consequently will continue to lose players. Can we then afford to ignore players who should be in the Bok squad?


bluebok

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RE: How France shaped Frans Steyn
February 13, 2013, 16:10:05

France shaped him round! He came back a fatty!


Beeno1

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RE: How France shaped Frans Steyn
February 13, 2013, 16:14:14

That he did. It was an easier life there. Which makes overseas performances harder to assess. It seems most guys do well overseas.


bluebok

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Posts: 1148
RE: How France shaped Frans Steyn
February 13, 2013, 16:14:52

Before you all get your nickers in a knot, I am just kidding. Montgomery definately came back a better player. The jury is still out on Frans. He came back over weight, and in my opinion, seems to have lost some of his X-fatcor while he was in France. My judgement of him may be premature, because I haven't seen much of him since his return, but in the tests he played in last year, he was nothing more than an average international centre, that did little more than crash ball. Outside M Steyn his oportunities may or may not have been limited, but he definately did not display any of the magic of his early days.


Capone

Status: Baby Bok
Posts: 176
RE: How France shaped Frans Steyn
February 13, 2013, 16:26:04

Yo Blue Balls

 

The only “X” factor Steyn had was left back in France in 2007.

 


bluebok

Status: Bok regular
Posts: 1148
RE: How France shaped Frans Steyn
February 13, 2013, 16:36:20

Even though you have insulted my colourful swolen nuts, I agree with you. I was hoping Frans would come back with a wise head that enabled him to use his x-factor, but instead he came back out of shape, and seemingly missing his x-factor.


Goodman

Status: Orange peeler
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RE: How France shaped Frans Steyn
February 13, 2013, 16:42:14

since his return he has had an injury & been unable to join the Super 15 through rules. So how is it you guys are able to access his " X-factor" or lack there of. I think you maybe talking a certain degree of nonsense.

 

He may have been out of Shape , but he was in enough shape to be selected as a Springbok.

"Seemingly" is the operative word.

 


Goodman

Status: Orange peeler
Posts: 97
RE: How France shaped Frans Steyn
February 13, 2013, 16:43:23

since his return he has had an injury & been unable to join the Super 15 through rules. So how is it you guys are able to access his " X-factor" or lack there of. I think you maybe talking a certain degree of nonsense.

 

He may have been out of Shape , but he was in enough shape to be selected as a Springbok.

"Seemingly" is the operative word.

 


bluebok

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Posts: 1148
RE: How France shaped Frans Steyn
February 13, 2013, 16:48:59

Goodman, are you just arguing...because.....?

 

Seemingly IS the operative word...that is why I used it. Also, he played in the tests for the Springboks...THAT is how we are able to "access' his x-factor.


clevermike

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RE: How France shaped Frans Steyn
February 13, 2013, 16:49:11

Keo is like normal way off the mark here -  thought he was going to deal with rugby prformances and he went off in dealing with issues relating to maturity.

The issue of people getting a wider sence of responsibility by travelling extensively all over the world goes back for many centuries     I read once that the Emporer (Tzar) Peter the Great of Russia wanted to modernise Russia and he himself went to work incogntio in a shipyard in Holland for 18 months to learn about shipbuilding and also stealing of the Dutch secrets about construction of Fortresses - that is why the Peter and Paul Fortress in St Petersburg in design is similar to the Castle in Cape Town.   He also send emissaries all over Europe to learn about the western technological and administrative advances so as to apply it in Russia.  

In the Cape it was for nearly a century the norm of the families who could afford it - to send their children to Europe for about two years to learn about wider views in the world before going to University.  Often enough the method was used to separate them from relationships regarded as undesirable by the parents.   Historically one of the most famous cases was in the Prince Vintzent family of Mossel Bay.   The daughter got interested in the son of the Archbishop of Grahams Town - the famous John X Merriman  - who by then was a Minister in the Cabinet of the Cape Colony - but was not considered as good enough for the daughter - the separation strategy failed and she returned and did marry Merriman  Incidentally most of the old Cape families were snobs in any event.

I myself went to Europe at one stage on holiday for nearly six months and returned a changed person - but even more loyal to SA than before I left.  If a person like Francois Steyn did not benefit in that way from international exposure - he would indeed be a dolt.  He obviously did experience a maturing benefit and I think he really did advance in that respect.

What I did miss in the article about any mention about improved rugby performance.   He came back as a player that showed some negatives that was not evident before he left.   I believe he really was overweight  and etremely slow off the mark - often enough getting caught with the ball behind the gain line and crashballing.   His passing game became ineffective and I never once saw him off-loading a ball in a tacke situation last year.

His new wifey apparently do not want to be married to a fat. overweight balding slob - and when I saw him last week from fairly nearby he was considerably slimmer and the approaching baldness was replaced by a full bush of black hair - hair implant in evidence.   What also changed beyod recognition was his performance and I was deligyhted to see some marked improvements in that.   However - that had nothing to do with his French sojourn at all.

 


Goodman

Status: Orange peeler
Posts: 97
RE: How France shaped Frans Steyn
February 13, 2013, 17:41:21

how many tests did he play last year since his return from France Bluebok seeing that it was at the end of the S15 and he didnt play CC.

did he play any tests from that point till now ? Let me give you an example, here is the end of year touring squad . he doesnt show .

Willem Alberts (The Sharks) - Loose forward, 17 Tests
Arno Botha (Vodacom Blue Bulls) - Loose forward, 0
Schalk Brits (Saracens, England) - Hooker, 3
Pat Cilliers (MTN Golden Lions) - Prop, 3
Marcell Coetzee (The Sharks) - Loose forward, 9
Juan de Jongh (DHL Western Province) - Centre, 12
Jean de Villiers (captain, DHL Western Province) - Centre, 81
Jannie du Plessis (The Sharks) - Prop, 39
Eben Etzebeth (DHL Western Province) - Lock, 8
Francois Hougaard (Vodacom Blue Bulls) - Scrumhalf / Wing, 24
Elton Jantjies (MTN Golden Lions) - Flyhalf, 2
Zane Kirchner (Vodacom Blue Bulls) - Fullback, 21
Juandré Kruger (Vodacom Blue Bulls) - Lock , 5
Pat Lambie (The Sharks) - Fullback / Flyhalf, 17
Francois Louw (Bath, England) - Loose forward, 14
Lionel Mapoe (MTN Golden Lions) - Wing / Centre, 0
Tendai Mtawarira (The Sharks) - Prop, 41
Lwazi Mvovo (The Sharks) - Wing, 7
Ruan Pienaar (Ulster, N Ireland) - Scrumhalf, 60
JP Pietersen (The Sharks) - Wing / Centre, 45
Chiliboy Ralepelle (Vodacom Blue Bulls) - Hooker, 21
Raymond Rhule (Toyota FS Cheetahs) - Wing, 0
Gurthrö Steenkamp (Toulouse, France) - Prop, 38
Morné Steyn (Vodacom Blue Bulls) - Flyhalf, 41
Adriaan Strauss (Toyota FS Cheetahs) - Hooker, 18
Jaco Taute (MTN Golden Lions) - Utility back, 2
CJ van der Linde (MTN Golden Lions) - Prop, 73
Flip van der Merwe (Vodacom Blue Bulls) - Lock, 20
Franco van der Merwe (MTN Golden Lions) - Lock, 0
Jano Vermaak (Vodacom Blue Bulls) - Scrumhalf, 0
Duane Vermeulen (DHL Western Province) - No 8, 4

If you talk about the three test series he was head and shoulders our best back barr JP Pietersen. In my opinion. as for his physical shape. well he walked into the Boks. So how unfit was he really.

 

 


Goodman

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Posts: 97
RE: How France shaped Frans Steyn
February 13, 2013, 17:50:28

Did i miss any other games. If i have i will gladly conceed.


clevermike

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RE: How France shaped Frans Steyn
February 13, 2013, 20:22:42

Goodman

Don't get me wrong - I do support Steyn at 12.   He played in six tests last year - namely two against the English, two against the Argentinians, one against the Wallabies and one against the All Blacks,  Steyn also played in two Super Series games for the Sharks - he could not play the last three games because he was not on the players list of the Sharks on 1 April 2012.

I was rather unpleasantly surprised about his performances - he was not the Steyn I saw previously - also when he played in the WC in France in 2007.   There was a number of rather adverse deficiencies in his game and in effect he never contributed to any Springbok tries and helped to cut out completely any potential backline attacks.   There is no way that he was ot carrying extra weight  - in France he picked upp 9 kilos in two years and that was mostly fat.   He was slow off the mark and crashballed 90% of he balls passed to him - he never off-loaded balls in tackle situations.   In general he played no significant in any of the played in - bar for a charge don try in Mendoza.   

I think a lot of observers were disappointed by his performances and the continuous crashballing.   On two occasions he tried dribble kicks - both failed and lead to opposition scores. He made one break in all of the six tests and then threw the ball backwards with no idea about who would get it - the All Blacks got the ball and the move died.

As mentioned there was a number of negatives -

  *   he never caught balls on the run and was slow off the mark and to gain speed - resulting him being tackled behind or on the gain line;

   *   he ran straight at the opposition defender - trying to run over him by force (it never worked). rather than aiming for the slight gap between the two centers and drawing them in to defend;

   *   as a result of the latter he failed to create even the slightest space for the other backline players;

   *   he never even tried to off-load balls in tackle situations.

I believe the problem could have been Morne Steyn - who stood so deep in the pocket and was so slow in passing balls that Francois got the balls with the defenders on top of him - hence the excessive crashballing

I was pleasantly surprised when I went to Maritzburg last Friday to see the Sharks play.  He was slimmer and looked much better than he played last year.   He corrected all the negatives he showed last year - but for the fact that he still did not off-load balls in tackle situations.  I believe that he has shown massive improvement and if he continues with that in the Super 15 - he will be a must as a selection for the Springboks,    If he reverts and played like he did last year - he will be a negative insofar as Springbok performances are concerned.

I think that he will succeed - and I do hope that he plays for the Sharks and Springboks in future.    


oimatey

Status: Bok regular
Posts: 1196
RE: How France shaped Frans Steyn
February 13, 2013, 22:08:25

 The Steyn I remember leaving for France was not the Steyn who returned - he was well off last year. Playing in France did him no favors 

 

Boks need him to return to the form of the strong running inside center with good feet and a willingness to off-load who brings the dual threat of 60 meter penalty kicks and audacious drop-goals. He was an exciting, off-the-cuff, creative and spontaneous player. He returned as a bore (which is contrary to logic for someone exposed to running French rugby) - or was it Heyneke Meyers influence, or both that caused this decline?

 

Either way - I trust he finds some of that daredevil, who-gives-a-rip attitude again

 


mozart

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Posts: 7834
RE: How France shaped Frans Steyn
February 13, 2013, 22:11:47

Steyn gained 2 metres a carry in the tests last year....that's not an X factor....it's a zzzzzzz factor.


DbDraad

Status: Bok regular
Posts: 864
RE: How France shaped Frans Steyn
February 13, 2013, 22:24:32

 IMO Fransie is too slow off the mark for a 12. You can play him there if you want to crashball, or you can play him at 15. @15, he won quite a couple of games for the Boks with his long range drops and by joining the line at pace with his size. We need a better 12 than him and Jean, but its too soon for any of the new watch.


Saffex

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Posts: 8516
RE: How France shaped Frans Steyn
February 14, 2013, 12:32:45

Frans too slow for 12, what crap. If he was that slow how did he keep up with JP in this pre season's sprint tests?


bluebok

Status: Bok regular
Posts: 1148
RE: How France shaped Frans Steyn
February 14, 2013, 12:37:29

Quick question, has Frans managed to shed a few pounds over the off season? Just wondering if anyone has seen a 2013 pic or video of the man?


Saffex

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Posts: 8516
RE: How France shaped Frans Steyn
February 14, 2013, 12:46:09

Yes, Mike watched him playing in the warm up game last weekend and he said he was in good shape and had a great game


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