Shock for Casper

A neck injury may force Pumas veteran Casper Steyn to quit rugby immediately.

The likeable 32-year-old fullback heard this morning that his neck injury is more serious than first thought and has been advised by doctors to stop playing rugby.

“I’m still in a bit of shock,” a despondent Steyn told keo.co.za. “I got the call this morning and the specialist (Dr Pieter Kritzinger) said it would be very dangerous for me to continue playing.”

Steyn, one of the true gentlemen of the game and always with a smile on his face, has been playing first-class rugby for more than a decade. He was aiming to retire gracefully at the end of this season or next. “If this is the end, this is not the way I wanted to end it all.”

Steyn fractured his cheekbone against Free State and at the same time experienced pain in his neck. “When I got that shot in the head it felt strange, but I didn’t feel it was that serious and it actually wasn’t that painful. When I went for X-rays for my cheek I told the doctor about my neck and they found two squashed discs. One more knock could be very serious for me.”

At the height of his powers, Steyn was both a fast, evasive runner and a strong tackler. He played in all eleven of the Vodacom Super 12 matches for the Bulls in 1998.

In 1999 Steyn scored a massive 384 points for the Bulls or Blue Bulls. He currently holds the Pumas and Blue Bulls Absa Currie Cup season points records.

Coach Chris Grobler told keo.co.za: “I fear Casper may be out of rugby forever. Any injury of the neck is bad. He has a problem between his C5 and C6 vertebrae. It is a major blow to us as Casper brought his experience and kicking abilities. We will have to discuss his future soon and make a decision.”

By Andrew Hollely