The Toyota Cheetahs made a major signing over the past week when they confirmed that they had acquired the services of the two-time World Cup-winning Springbok, Frans Steyn, on a two-year contract.
Last season already Steyn was on the radar of the Cheetahs and the plan was to have him sign at the franchise along with his former Sharks, Montpellier and Springbok teammate, Ruan Pienaar, however, he still had a year left of his contract at the French club, and it would have been financially unviable to lure him back to the Free State.
Steyn, who hails from the Aliwal North region, matriculated at Grey College in Bloemfontein and represented the Free State at junior level. He has, however, never played any senior rugby for the Free State or the Cheetahs after being contracted by the Sharks while he was still a schoolboy.
Steyn, who will be turning 33 years old next month, is an incredibly versatile player and is equally comfortable at flyhalf, centre and fullback. At the age of 19, he made his Springbok debut against Ireland on the wing, and also scored a try during his first match in the green-and-gold. Apart from being able to play just about anywhere in the backline, Steyn is also renowned for having a big boot, and distance has never been much of an issue when he attempts a shot on goal.
Steyn says the dream was always to finish his career in the Free State where he and his wife, Linca, also want to raise their kids.
“It has always been a dream to finish my career at the Free State. That is where it all started. It is very special.
“My wife and I are both from the Free State and it has always been a priority for us to raise our kids there, and to be close to the farm.
“I’m really looking forward to the opportunity and I’m looking forward to becoming a Cheetah.”
Steyn and the former Free State Cheetahs and Springbok loosehead prop, Os du Randt, are the only two South Africans to have won the Rugby World Cup twice. In 2007 when the Springboks lifted the Webb Ellis Cup for the second time, they were teammates.
Steyn will report for duty at the Cheetahs on 1 July 2020. – MORGAN PIEK