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The SMS Steyn sent to Japan to buck a recent South African trend

By Chris Jones
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Double Springbok World Cup winner Frans Steyn has revealed why he bucked the recent trend by turning down the chance of a lucrative return to Japan to remain in South African domestic rugby with the Cheetahs.

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Not only does this set Steyn apart given the well-taken route to Japan in recent seasons and big-money contracts, but it also signals a welcome change of fortune for the Cheetahs who have been stripped of many of their leading stars following their exclusion from the latest version of the URC and Super Rugby.

The 35-year-old has become a firm favourite since arriving in Bloemfontein two years ago and is enjoying family life back in South Africa after his talents previously took him to Japan with Toshiba Brave Lupus and also to France with Racing 92 and Montpellier.

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Frans Steyn and Ruan Pienaar explain why they signed on for more in Bloemfontein

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Frans Steyn and Ruan Pienaar explain why they signed on for more in Bloemfontein

Steyn has signed a contract extension until the end of 2023 and Sport24 have reported that he issued his decision by SMS. Steyn said: “I sent the Japanese clubs an SMS. I have nothing else to say. My choice has been made.

“My daughter starts with horse riding lessons on June 1. I had to find someone ready to teach her. I know absolutely nothing about horses. We all really enjoy it here. All the people are fantastic. More importantly, it’s nice building towards something special here at the Cheetahs and to be a part of it.

“To work somewhere and feel that there is a place for you to prove your worth speaks louder than words. It’s awesome for me to have a coffee daily with Ruan Pienaar and Aranos Coetzee and all the other guys I have gotten to know. If you accept an overseas offer now you have to uproot and start making acquaintances again. We are also keeping in consideration my retirement whenever that happens.”

The decision means that Steyn – who has played centre, fly-half, full-back and wing for his country – is handily placed if the Springboks want to use his talents in the three-match series with Wales this summer which includes a Test in Bloemfontein on July 9.

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He added: ”First we need to win the Currie Cup, then we can start worrying about other things. I haven’t even thought about the Boks yet. A title win here would be really special. I don’t care what people say about the Currie Cup. It’s still a great competition to play in.”

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finn 15 hours ago
Massive red flag raised by weakened Champions Cup teams – Andy Goode

I wonder if the problem of some teams not taking it that seriously would be helped by making performance in the champions cup count towards qualification and/or seeding in the following year’s competition. Eg. top four seeds would be winners of the URC, premiership, and top 14, plus best performing team in the previous year’s CC who have not otherwise qualified. Doing that the seedings for this years comp. would have been: Tier one: Saracens - Munster - Toulouse - la Rochelle Tier two: Sale - Stormers - Racing 92 - Leinster Tier three: Leicester - Connacht - Bordeaux - Exeter Tier four: Northampton - Ulster - Lyon - Sharks Tier five: Harlequins - Glasgow - Stade Francais - Edinburgh Tier six: Bath - Bulls - Toulon - Ospreys The competition would probably work better with fewer teams, so I’d probably favour only the first 4 tiers being invited, and then going straight to a quarter final without a round of 16. On the one hand this would possibly incentivise teams to take the champions cup seriously, and on the other it would mean that the latter stages would be more likely to involve teams that have demonstrated a willingness to take the competition seriously. The main differences between my proposed system and the actual draw is that mine would give la Rochelle a fairly easy ride to the quarters, and would either exclude the Bulls entirely or would give then an insurmountably difficult draw. As it happened Exeter got quite an easy pool draw but that was a bit of a fluke. My system would reward Exeter for being one of the teams that demonstrably devote a lot of attention to the CC by guaranteeing them a good draw.

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