Mystery over Steyn's 'break'

2014-06-11 11:25
Frans Steyn (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Frans Steyn's sensational 11th hour decision to withdraw from the Springbok squad currently in training for the Castle Lager Incoming Series is shrouded in mystery.

Steyn was on Tuesday quoted as "not wanting to be considered for the Boks' upcoming three Tests" and "wanting a break".

Frankly, had Steyn cited his long-standing injured knee as the reason for his "break", the rugby public would've fully supported - and understood - his decision.

Furthermore, had Steyn and the SARU management team sat down and discussed a "sabbatical" - much like those enjoyed in recent years by star All Blacks Richie McCaw and Dan Carter - everyone would've backed wrapping the star flyhalf-cum-centre in cotton wool some 15 months out from next year's Rugby World Cup.

Alas, not a single mention of "knee" or "sabbatical" in Tuesday's SARU press release...

Instead we're left with speculation. Plenty of speculation.

Suddenly reports of financial issues have surfaced, with the Volksblad website reporting Steyn's unhappiness over a promise (a broken promise presumably) that SARU had made to him when he returned from French club, Racing Metro, to play for the Sharks in 2012.

Although it remains unclear exactly what SARU's "promise" was, Steyn would be earning far less than he would've banked had he elected to remain in France. Quite why he decided to return to SA with SARU's policy of selecting overseas-based players, also remains a mystery.

Volksblad went on to write that Steyn and SARU officials got into an argument at the Boks' training camp in Durban a fortnight ago which resulted in Steyn getting into his car and leaving the camp.

The nett effect is that Steyn's departure has left the Bok backline in disarray mere days away from their opening Test of the year.

Already out injured are skipper Jean de Villiers, Damian de Allende, Juan de Jongh and Jaque Fourie, leaving the likely midfield pairing to be JP Pietersen and Jan Serfontein.

Pietersen is yet to play an official Test at centre, while Serfontein, for all his promise, has failed to live up to expectations at Super Rugby and international level to date.

Pietersen and Serfontein will face a likely baptism of fire against highly regarding Wales duo of Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies in Durban on Saturday.

Kick-off is at 17:05.

Read more on:    springboks  |  frans steyn  |  rugby


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