Steyn: I'd die for South Africa
Rudolph Lake and Correspondent
Francois Steyn (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg – “I will die for South Africa on the field.”
That was the reaction from Springbok fullback Frans Steyn following the storm that erupted around him over his leg injury and availability for Peter de Villiers’s Springbok team.
An upset Steyn on Friday night rejected accusations that he did not have the “heart” to “die for” the Green and Gold. He said that he still wanted to play for the Springboks and would do anything to achieve it.
“I have the heart to play for the Boks and will die for my country on the field. I would love to play in next year’s World Cup if I’m good enough and would do anything to achieve that,” said Steyn.
In an exclusive interview, he said that he had been unnecessarily been labelled as a difficult person.Sport24 can also reveal the following:
- Steyn travelled to South Africa without permission from French club Racing Metro at his own cost to play for the Springboks against Wales.
- Steyn has not spoken to De Villiers since the Wales Test.
- De Villiers gave Steyn an undertaking during their meeting on May 28 that he would visit France to sort out matters with Racing Metro. The Bok coach has not done this.
- Selection convenor Peter Jooste phoned Steyn last Thursday to tell him that he is in South Africa’s plans for the tour to Britain and Ireland. Steyn was surprised when he learned that he was in the Springbok squad for the remaining Tri-Nations games.
- According to Sport24’s sources, Steyn was included in the squad last Friday at the insistence of senior Boks.
- SARU did not, as required by the International Rugby Board (IRB), request a release from Steyn’s French club for a release. Such a request has to be lodged 14 days in advance.
- SARU only informed the French Rugby Federation about their intent this past Wednesday.
Steyn, who cannot play against the All Blacks on Saturday in any event because of injury, says he has no option but to wait for his club’s permission before he can travel to South Africa.
“I have not yet been released by Racing Metro and can’t just go AWOL. I have a contract with them that I have to honour. I don’t have a Bok contract.”
Steyn says he has been labelled as someone who does not want to play for the Boks and his commitment to the team is wrongly being questioned.
“If it’s just up to me, nothing will keep me from the Springbok team. I will live and die for the Bok jersey and definitely have the heart to play for the Boks,” he said.
“Everyone who knows me knows that I give my all for the team I play for. I want people to look back and say one day that Frans Steyn made a difference.”
Steyn said that his return to South Africa earlier this year to play against Wales had nearly landed him in big trouble.
“I thought the necessary clearance had been asked and granted. After flying to South Africa at my own expense, I heard that everything had not been done,” he said.
“Pierre Berbizier (Racing Metro coach) said on my return that they would not stand in my way to play for my country, but that things have to be done in the correct manner in the future and that the correct protocol had to be followed.
“Peter gave me the assurance at an emergency meeting on May 28 that he would travel to France and sort things out with the club. He has not been there yet and I have not spoken to him since the Wales Test.
“I heard after the Test that he said that the guys playing in Europe are not good enough for the Boks and that the Southern Hemisphere’s pace is much quicker.
“Racing Metro are paying my salary and are treating me well. I don’t have a Bok contract. And now I have to hear that I don’t have the heart to play for the Boks.
“I phoned the coach last week and left a message for him on his phone. I gave him the assurance that I’m still eager to play for South Africa.”
He concluded by repeating his plea to the Bok management and confirmed his commitment to the Boks.
“I want to play for my country again if I’m good enough and I’d do anything to play for South Africa. I have the heart and will die for my country on the field.”