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Frans 2.0?

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 13 Mar 2015 at 12:08
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , ,

While his comeback game last week may not have yielded the result any of us were looking for, newly-returned Sharks center Frans Steyn seems to be relishing the challenge of being part of the Sharks’ “attacking revival” this season.

Addressing a media gathering in Durban yesterday, Steyn spoke of the mindset shift required of all the Sharks players this season and how it’s affecting him in particular. “For me personally, I was so used to being in a kicking-oriented game plan for the last seven or eight years of my life,” he said (according to Rugby365).

“I struggled when I got to Japan, and I think I am still not 100 percent in the attacking mindset that they want me to be in, but I am getting there. I realise it is going to take more than one week to get out of the mentality that I had from the coaching I received over the last seven or so years.

“I enjoyed the attacking brand of rugby, it was good for me, I enjoyed playing with the ball and hopefully I can do that here, if I get the opportunity.”

Steyn, who was pressed into an emergency flyhalf role by Jake White last season after Pat Lambie picked up a serious injury early on, emerged as one of the key architects of the safety-first kicking game that led to a maiden South African conference win for the side. He’ll probably be one of the first to admit that the style of play emphasised the boot far more than it did attacking the line with ball in hand; not that White’s approach was necessarily too far removed from the way Steyn had been asked to play by former coaches at the Sharks, Boks and at Racing Metro.

Blessed with a booming boot and the physical attributes to succeed in “conservative rugby”, few will forget the Steyn that first burst onto the scene as a raw 18 year old in the 2006 season, a superbly-balanced running flyhalf with an eye for the gap and x-factor in abundance. While we’ve not seen much of that player in recent times, Sharks fans will hope that he quickly rediscovers that aspect of his game – one that it seems he’s already started working on while in Japan.

Being in Japan has also had a positive effect on Steyn physically; Sharks fans around the globe would wince in sympathy after every goal kick last year, with the player visibly in pain when putting all his weight on his left knee. “My knees are feeling good,” he says now, “I have had no swelling on my knee for five months now.

“That was one of the main reasons why I went to Japan, to try and get my body into a good state again.”

Welcome back, Frans. Welcome home. Let’s shake off the shackles and see some of that youthful exuberance again – who knows where that could lead?


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