Frans Steyn believes SA rugby’s future lies in the north

In the current uncertain financial times as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the ongoing debate of ‘what’s best’ for SA rugby will no doubt continue to rage in the years ahead.

The southern hemisphere’s governing body Sanzaar is contemplating its long-term future for Super Rugby and at the same time, the sport’s governing body, World Rugby, is looking at pushing ahead with a global season under the promises of newly re-elected chairperson Bill Beaumont.

In a wide-ranging interview with the Rugby Pass website, Steyn said he saw merits in southern and northern hemisphere rugby, but believed South Africa would be better served in Europe.

“A lot of the time, decisions are made that are not best for South African rugby. If there are two New Zealand teams in the Super Rugby final I’d bet most of the TV audience for that game came from South Africa, but South Africa gets the least money,” Steyn told the rugby specialist website.

The 32-year-old added that rugby enthusiasts should not be swayed by the supposed different playing styles.

“People can’t say that northern hemisphere rugby is s***. I’ve been playing here for a while now and if they come to the north, it will be good for South Africa, and the rugby will be good, it will be tough every week. It will still be good if they stay in the south, but at the moment, we are losing players, we can’t spend rand against pound, so it’s definitely something to look at. I would go north.”

Steyn, who won the World Cup with the Springboks in 2007 and 2019, recently returned to Bloemfontein and signed a two-year deal with the Cheetahs, starting on 1 July.

He was schooled at Grey College, represented Free State at junior levels before starting his professional career at the Sharks.

But Steyn knows a thing or two about northern hemisphere rugby, having played for French clubs Racing 92 (2009-2012) and Montpellier (2016-2020). In between his French stints, he was at the Toshiba Brave Lupus in Japan (2014-2016).

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