François Steyn is calling it a day. The 36-year-old is retiring from rugby. With his departure, one of the finest pages in the history of the oval ball is closing in South Africa.
Injuries have taken their toll on François Steyn. The back-rower suffered a knee injury on 24 March during a Currie Cup match between his team, the Cheetahs, and the Bulls, and had to undergo surgery.Little did the 36-year-old know that this would be the last game of his career, but he was fighting to get back on the pitch before the Rugby World Cup in September.
Alas, his story with the oval ball is coming to an end. He has announced the end of his career. "These last few months have been difficult for me to accept saying goodbye to the game to which I have devoted my entire life," he announced on his social networks on Tuesday 11 July. Every player wants to end his career on good terms," he added. But I consider myself lucky to have been able to play rugby for so long and incredibly grateful for the journey I have been able to take," he continued.
François Steyn played 78 internationals for the Springboks. He scored 165 points, including 11 tries.But his speciality was kicking drop-goals from elsewhere. He was a world-class scorer who could put the ball between the posts... from his own half of the field. He won two World Cups with South Africa. First in 2007, at the age of 20, and then in 2019.
An exceptional careerAlong with Os du Randt, François Steyn is the only South African to have won two world titles. What's more, he is the youngest ever to pull on a Springbok shirt.That was against Ireland in 2006.He was 19 years and 181 days old at the time.To celebrate this cap, he gave himself a try. At club level, Steyn has played for Natal Sharks, Sharks and Cheetahs (South Africa), Montpellier and Racing (France), and Toshiba Brave Lupus (Japan).
SA Rugby was keen to thank 'legend' François Steyn. Chairman Mark Alexander was full of praise."It's safe to say that Frans Steyn will go down in history as a Springbok and South African rugby legend.Frans was a phenomenon when he first entered the senior rugby scene as a teenager and he never backed down, never gave an inch and always tried to find a way to help his teams win. He was a versatile player who represented the Boks in five positions in the backline and his kicking boot often delivered points when it seemed impossible. On behalf of the entire South African rugby family, I would like to thank Frans for his massive contribution to the game we love so much, and we wish him and his family all the best in his retirement".