“When I joined the Cheetahs, MJ Smith (Cheetahs Director of Rugby) told me Frans wants to come back to Bloemfontein, wants to buy a house here and wants his children to go to school in Bloemfontein because that is where it all started,” Fourie explained.
“So I made contact with his agent and Ruan Pienaar also helped a bit. Then I spoke to Rassie (Erasmus) to find out how SA Rugby sees the situation. Rassie was very supportive and also wanted Frans to come to Bloem to join us, and he helped us as well.”
Fourie laughed when asked what role Pienaar had played, saying only he had provided him with some “inside info” when it was needed to bring Frans back to Bloemfontein.
“The two of them played together at Montpellier, and they have been big mates since they were at school. They also played together for a long time at the Sharks. They are good friends. Ruan helped me get in contact with Frans, and to negotiate the deal. He gave me some inside info sometimes,” Fourie laughed.
“That helped a bit with the negotiations. He played his part.”
Fourie said Steyn’s value would be immeasurable for a side like the Cheetahs, especially as the player budget had been reduced for next season.
“To have a player like Frans in our squad will be very valuable to us, because we have a small budget. It is important for me to have players in the backline that are versatile and can play in different positions. We will only be able to contract about 35 players next year, instead of the 45 and to cope with 10 less players you have got to have players in your squad that are versatile and can play in different positions.
“Frans will not just bring versatility, but also quality. He is a quality player that played at a high level since he was 19-years-old. He has played in different positions and in different competitions, so I am very sure he will make a big difference to our squad.”
And like Pienaar, Fourie expects Steyn to have a major impact on the Cheetahs squad thanks to his experience.
“Ruan sets a very high standard for the whole squad. He is always the last guy out of the gym and one of the fittest in the team. There are times I’ve thought this guy is 35, 36 and I have to manage him a bit. I should give him some of the sessions off but he doesn’t want to do it. He just wants to be on the field and set the standard for the team.
“That is what I expect from Frans as well, he is a seasoned international and has played 67 Test matches over a career of around 12/13 years at that level. I know that Frans will bring that same edge to our team and that is what we need. We have a lot of quality players in our team but I feel we need players with international experience in the squad as well and as we saw from Ruan that will make a huge difference to us.”
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