Reports linking Frans Steyn to a Sharks return seem to be gathering pace, with Beeld’s Christo Buchner obtaining further confirmation from the union that talks are progressing.
Sharks CEO Brian van Zyl yesterday told Buchner that he expects the negotiations to be finalised within the next two weeks and that the Sharks hope to sign Steyn for at least three years. This confirms what was reported yesterday, with Steyn then slated to be available to the Sharks on completion of the mid-year test series against England. Once again, this is all dependent on a Springbok contract being in the offing to top up Steyn’s wages – he’s obviously taking a big pay cut on his R7m a year Racing Metro salary to come back to South Africa but will need the national body to help the Sharks soften that blow.
That should bring him into the selection frame for the last two round-robin matches, against the Bulls and the Cheetahs in Durban; however, as pointed out by Gavin Rich on the SuperSport website yesterday, the Sharks might well end up with a fight on their hands should they wish to include Steyn in any potential knock-out action. It’s not yet clear what SANZAR’s eligibility rules will be ahead of this year’s finals series, but if last year’s fiasco in anything to go by (the Stormers raised hackles by importing Saracens player Schalk Brits), Steyn’s two games might not be enough to ensure qualification.
It is, however, premature to assume that any player, regardless of pedigree, will walk straight into the starting line up and with the way the Sharks backs (and centres in particular) are performing this season, that will no doubt apply in Steyn’s case as well.Tweet