Francois Steyn will play his rugby in South Africa after deciding not to extend his contract with French club Racing Metro.
Steyn has been a regular starter for the Paris-based club since his arrival there in 2009. Racing offered the 24-year-old former World Cup winner a lucrative contract extension which he turned down in favour of a return to South Africa at the end of the Top 14 season.
Racing confirmed his departure in a press release with Racing president Jacky Lorenzetti saying he ‘understands this decision and thanks him warmly for three seasons at the club’.
Steyn’s decision was swayed by Heyneke Meyer’s appointment as Springboks coach. Meyer recently contacted him in Paris to seek clarity on his future plans. Meyer is known to rate Steyn highly and feels he would add value to the national side, particularly as an inside centre.
Steyn is said to be in negotiations with the Sharks over a deal that will see him return to Durban.
Meyer is also understood to have contacted a number of Japan-based players to offer them an opportunity to continue their Test careers. Fourie du Preez is expected to be his first-choice scrumhalf for at least his first season, while Jaque Fourie and Danie Rossouw will feature. Meyer is also in favour of the idea of selecting European-based players.