Cape Town – Versatile Springbok backline star Frans Steyn
has admitted that he succumbed to an inflated ego before his lucrative stint in
French rugby with Racing Metro.
The 25-year-old, now back on home soil with the Sharks,
candidly told the latest (October) edition of SA Rugby magazine that he has
come home with a new maturity and approach to life.
“Ja, it’s fair to say when I was younger I had become
big-headed ... freakin’ hell, I’d won the World Cup in my second season as a
pro, as a 20-year-old.
“Two years later I’d won everything I could with the Springboks.
I was fussed over throughout my schoolboy career, then I played for the Boks
after only a couple of Currie Cup games – it happened so quickly that I
probably got swept away by it all.”
Steyn, who has settled back into Test duty under Heyneke
Meyer’s new coaching regime in the No 12 jersey this season and also recently
tied the marital knot, added: “I would like to have reacted differently to that
early success. I think there is still a little of that in me but I’ve learned
to channel that positively, into my play and not my off-field behaviour.
“I’m still a work in progress though.”
He said the relative anonymity afforded him when he went out
in public in France had been beneficial.
“I could walk the streets of Paris and nobody would give a
sh*t about me: I’d come from an environment in South Africa where a simple
thing like going to a movie was difficult because of the attention I’d get.
“The constant attention at home probably helped give me an
inflated opinion of myself. Being in Paris on my own for the most part gave me
room to breathe, to find myself.
“I travelled to Venice, Seychelles, Canary Islands, Spain,
Switzerland, Greece ... man, I went to a lot of places. I learned about the
world and myself in the processs.
“That changed me as a person and I know when you’re content
within yourself you’re a better player. I hope that shows.
“I wouldn’t have been the same person had I stayed in South
Africa; I’m not sure I would have been over going out and partying – I could
have been arrested for drunk driving, or worse, been involved in a serious
“I’m speaking hypothetically, but my life, my outlook and
attitude would probably have been very different had I stayed.”