Jake White’s tenure at the helm of the Sharks kicked off with a bonus point win over the Bulls in Durban. At inside centre a rejuvenated Frans Steyn turned in the kind of performance that helped White’s Springboks win the Rugby World Cup in France in 2007.
It’s almost crazy to think Francois Steyn is only 26 years old. He seems to have been around for aeons and he’s already won the RWC, Tri-Nations and Currie Cup, played 55 Tests for the Boks and had a stint in Paris playing for Racing Metro before returning to South Africa and the Sharks in 2012.
Steyn at his best is a match winner. Standing 1.91m tall and weighing well over 100kgs he combines a wrecking ball frame with deft hands, pace and a seige-gun boot. Intimidating on defence and hard to stop on the charge, he’s able to play in almost any position across the backline. He’s a freakish talent virtually without peer in the rugby world.
That said, it hasn’t all been easy for Steyn. At times his versatility has counted against him as he has been shuffled between fullback, wing and centre positions for club and country. Injuries have also limited his playing time and as he’s battled for match fitness he’s looked overweight and off the pace at times.
With his old Springbok coach Jake White now at the helm – a man who claims he knows what makes Steyn ‘tick’ – a slim yet formidable Steyn turned in the kind of performance at the weekend that Sharks and Springbok fans alike have been hoping for.
His partnership with flyhalf Patrick Lambie is something White himself has tipped to become one of the best in world rugby, and the early signs are good that they’ve got the skills to complement each other to create a winning formula.
It’s still early days in the competition, but Frans Steyn’s performance was one to catch the eye on the opening weekend of Super Rugby and makes him our Red Hot Player of the Weekend.