South African Rugby
Steyn bites back at De Villiers jibe
August 16, 2010
Frans Steyn has insisted that he would 'live or die' for the Springboks © Getty Images
Frans Steyn has hit back at suggestions that he does not have the heart to represent South Africa, insisting that he would 'live and die for the Bok jersey'.
The Racing Metro fullback will miss the Springboks' forthcoming Tri-Nations Test against New Zealand in Soweto on Saturday through injury but his absence has added further strain to his relationship with national coach Peter De Villiers.
Conflicting reports on Steyn's status led De Villiers to question his commitment during a press conference last week, the coach saying: "Does he want to be here or not? I can't understand if he doesn't have a heart for the Springbok jersey."
Steyn, who sat out Racing's opening Top 14 win of the season last Friday, has since responded in an interview with South African newspaper Rapport.
"If it's just up to me, nothing will keep me from the Springbok team. I will live and die for the Bok jersey and definitely have the heart to play for the Boks," he said. "Everyone who knows me knows that I give my all for the team I play for. I want people to look back and say one day that Frans Steyn made a difference."
Steyn also revealed that he had not spoken ton De Villiers since June, when he won his last cap against Wales in Cardiff, and that his release had not been properly agreed prior to that fixture.
"I thought the necessary clearance had been asked and granted. After flying to South Africa at my own expense, I heard that everything had not been done," he said. "Pierre Berbizier [Racing Metro coach] said on my return that they would not stand in my way to play for my country, but that things have to be done in the correct manner in the future and that the correct protocol had to be followed.
"Peter gave me the assurance at an emergency meeting on May 28 that he would travel to France and sort things out with the club. He has not been there yet and I have not spoken to him since the Wales Test. I heard after the Test that he said that the guys playing in Europe are not good enough for the Boks and that the Southern Hemisphere's pace is much quicker.
"Racing Metro are paying my salary and are treating me well. I don't have a Bok contract. And now I have to hear that I don't have the heart to play for the Boks. I phoned the coach last week and left a message for him on his phone. I gave him the assurance that I'm still eager to play for South Africa."