Hey guys – did you hear? Frans Steyn is being chased by a foreign club and they prepared to pay 7 bazillion Euros a minute for his services! Surely the Sharks are set to lose one of our brightest young stars?
It’s a rumour that’s been doing the rounds recently, one that my mate De Jongh Borchardt confirmed in Rapport yesterday. Reading a little further, it appears that, in this case, there doesn’t really seem to be too much to worry about. Steyn is still contracted until the end of 2009 and the Sharks are negotiating with him to extend that by a year. Despite some unhappiness earlier in the season (the Muir-style rotation and position-swapping fest was to blame), Steyn is happy in Durban and is confident that he will get regular gametime in a single position next season. Again, the pragmatic Plumtree has come to the rescue.
My bet is that Steyn ain’t going anywhere. Even if he does, it will have to be after the end of next season, because Rudi ain’t going to let ANYONE buy him out of next year’s obligations, regardless of how much money they wave. The Sharks’ coffers are full – we won the Currie Cup, remember? Take your filthy foreign lucre and sod off, Johnny Foreigner!
This story raises an interesting point, though – and it’s something that came up in a recent discussion I had with an agent. Every so often, a big news story breaks about “so-and-so is being chased by a big foreign club” and everybody gets their panties in a twist. We saw this recently, with both Bismarck du Plessis and Ruan Pienaar linked with big money moves to Australia, France, Papua New Guinea and goodness knows where else. Fact is, there’s nothing at all newsworthy or surprising about any of this.
Fact is, every single member of the Bok team has received and continues to receive, frankly staggering offers to join foreign clubs. Most of them don’t take them, because they are happy were they are and value their international careers more highly than the opportunity to earn a ridiculous sum for a few seasons. The obvious recent exception to this rule is Joe van Niekerk. If reports are to be believed, he already knows that he has made the biggest mistake of his career, turning his back on the Boks to try and add a little polish to the turd that is RC Toulon.
I guess there’s a bit of a dual message here. For SA Rugby and the local unions, they need to ensure that they provide an environment in which their top players can feel comfortable and can thrive. Often, the Springbok side and the prestige of playing for the country that they love is the only thing keeping players here. Mess with that and they will all be off, because none of them are ever likely to be short of option.
And for the rest of us? Don’t panic every time a story comes up about a Bok (or Sharks) hero linked to a big-name international club side. It’s not really news, because it’s happening behind the scenes, all the time.Tweet