Steyn’s basic instinct

Frans Steyn always backs himself on a rugby field.

steyncover.jpgThere’s a story dating back to Steyn’s days as a schoolboy, writes Clinton van der Berg in the new issue of SA Rugby magazine on sale Wednesday, 12 December. It’s a story that perfectly illustrates the man, and the player, he has become.

He was in grade 11 (standard nine), playing flyhalf for the Grey College 1st XV against traditional rivals Paul Roos, whom they hadn’t beaten for four years. It was one of the big games of 2004. Indeed, Grey’s loose forwards alone were stellar names: Richardt Strauss, Heinrich Brüssouw and Deon Stegmann. Grey trailed for most of the time and were three points adrift with 10 seconds to go. And then, bang, a penalty in front of the Paul Roos posts; chicken feed for a kicker of Steyn’s class.

Instead, the cavalier kid booted a short kick, regathered the ball and sprinted for the corner, colliding with the flag. Grey lost by three points and there was outrage from parents, spectators and even team-mates.

‘Listen,’ he told them, ‘I play to win, not to draw. There’s no honour in drawing or losing.’

Later, he was congratulated by school headmaster Johan Volsteedt for expressing a philosophy he holds to this day.

Read more about Steyn in SA Rugby magazine, on sale 12 December.

Also in the new issue:
– Gary Teichmann on Ryan Kankowski
– Bismarck and Jannie’s brotherly bond
– Jake book extract: How he fell out with Mallett and Solomons in 1998
– Tributes to Os and Smit
– Why the All Blacks must keep on playing attacking rugby
– IRB World Cup analysis: We look at stats that matter
– Currie Cup final review
– Eddie Jones Q&A: “Boks are best I’ve ever coached”
– Mallett: “Saru are incompetent and incapable of doing anything right”