Frans Steyn says he has already improved as a player at French club Racing Metro.
In South Africa, Steyn was known for his physicality, big boot and defence, brute strength and his ability to smash defensive lines.
However, since his move to Racing Metro after the Tri-Nations, the Bok fullback said he has had to adapt to the speed and skill of the rugby in the French Top 14.
‘I had to adapt my game considerably,’ he told Die Burger. ‘I had to lose weight to gain more speed and greater explosiveness from standing positions on the field. The fields are muddy and heavy. You can’t afford to be too heavy because then you will not make it.
‘The skill of the French players immediately impressed me, particularly the manner in which they attack space. I’m enjoying learning as much as possible from my team-mates, which includes players from different countries.’
Since Steyn made his debut for Racing, he has helped them to eight consecutive victories, which has seen them rise to third on the log.
His most recent heroics came in the 28-15 win over Toulon last Sunday, where he scored 11 points through two trademark long-range penalties and a try.
‘I’m enjoying it. I am in the best physical condition of my life [he lost 7kg] and have not been on the losing side in a Top 14 game for Racing Metro,’ said Steyn. ‘I can play instinctively. It really makes me happy. I have discovered strengths that I was not previously aware of during this short period.’
Steyn, who is mainly used at inside centre, added that he feels there are aspects of his game that he can work on.
‘But there are also aspects of my game which I thought were good that I have to improve. The more you achieve in your career, the harder you have to work. No attribute is as important as putting the team’s needs before your own,’ he said.