Steyn absence troubles Springboks
August 12, 2010

South Africa remain frustrated by the non-availability of Frans Steyn, with the Racing Metro fullback ruled out of their Tri-Nations meeting with New Zealand on August 21.

The utility back was drafted into the Springbok squad for the home leg of the Tri-Nations in place of Bulls fullback Zane Kirchner, but confusion over an injury and reports of release issues have to date scuppered plans to involve the 23-year-old.

Steyn will sit out Racing Metro's opening Top 14 game of the season against Brive on Friday night due to injury and his participation in the Springboks' must-win showdown against the All Blacks has also been ruled out. National teams manager Andy Marinos remained hopeful that Steyn would join the squad after their next Test.

"We have a situation where the player got injured, so we need to deal with that first," he told Reuters. "But to date we have been struggling to get clarity from Racing Metro on the extent of the injury.

"I don't want to say that anyone is being disingenuous, but the difficulty with players overseas is the communication and I am concerned by the very scarce information coming back from Racing Metro."

Springbok coach Peter De Villiers is also perplexed by the situation, having chanced his arm on Steyn as he looks to arrest an alarming slide after consecutive losses to New Zealand and Australia.

"Does he want to be here or not? I can't understand if he doesn't have a heart for the Springbok jersey," De Villiers said. "I want a team on the field that feels strongly for our land. He is so talented, I want to see him play for us but there comes a point when you have to say 'so far and no further'. We must get finality on this situation as quickly as possible."

De Villiers also admitted that the Springboks' dismal Tri-Nations campaign prompted some frank words among the squad. The coach also blamed the different make-up of his squad for their slow start.

"We did some hard talking. It was acknowledged by us all that fixing things has to come from within and that everyone has to play their part," he said. "We let ourselves down and there is a determination to show that we can bounce back".

"Last year the bulk of the squad came from the Bulls and the Sharks, who play a similar style of rugby. With more Stormers players coming in this year we have had to adapt a bit. We did not have the opportunity, or in fact the time, to get everyone fully on the same page, which we have now been able to do during this week's training camp."


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