Steyn confirms switch to Stade Francais
March 4, 2013
Morne Steyn will play for Stade Francais in the 2013-14 season © Getty Images
South Africa's Blue Bulls have confirmed that Springboks fly-half Morne Steyn will join Stade Francais at the end of the current season on a three-year deal.
Steyn has played for the Bulls since 2003 but after 10 years with the club, he has decided to journey to France to continue his career. During that time Steyn has won 42 caps for the Springboks and he played a key role in their 2009 series win over the British & Irish Lions.
Since then his form has been mixed on the Test stage with Pat Lambie and Johan Goosen challenging him for a spot in the South Africa side but he is hopeful of keeping his place in the Boks squad when he is playing in the Top 14. Stade are currently tenth in the French league and he will vie with Felipe Contepomi for a place in their starting line-up.
And Steyn claimed that it was a tough decision to make to leave the Bulls. "I basically owe everything I achieved in rugby to them, but the opportunity to join Stade comes at the right time in my career" Steyn said. "I always wanted to play some rugby abroad and experience a different lifestyle and now have the opportunity to go and do that.
"They have been negotiating with me for a while now and I have decided not to accept the offer from the BBC (Blue Bulls Company) to extend my contract, but rather join Stade."
Bulls coach Frans Ludeke admitted it would be a blow to lose Steyn but he wishes him well in the Top 14. "I don't think anyone can doubt or question the loyalty that Mornè has shown to us," Ludeke said. "He has given everything he had for ten years now and one cannot fault his decision to expand his horizons.
"We will forever be grateful to have a player like that in our generation and can only wish him the best. He will be missed as he is a world class player, but I know that he will still be giving us 110% till the end of his term."
High performance manager Xander Janse van Rensburg added: "Mornè also indicated to us that he will use the remainder of his time here to mentor our junior crop of fly-halves coming through, which is something we are very pleased about."
His signing is unlikely to please France coach Philippe Saint-Andre who has hit out in the past at the number of Top 14 clubs who have foreign fly-halves starting. Toulon have Jonny Wilkinson, Clermont start Brock James, Racing Metro have Olly Barkley and Juan Martin Hernandez while Luke McAlister is at Toulouse. And come the end of the season, Metro will also have Ireland's Jonathan Sexton at their disposal.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Joe Simpson talks to Charlie Morgan about loss, Wasps and being England's game-breaker
It is 100 years this week since the last international match played in Europe before the outbreak of World War One. Rewind remembers the fixture's longest-living survivor
Red cards, uncontested scrums, end-of-season wobbles and schoolboy errors - the Monday Maul looks back over the weekend's talking points
The latest Week in Pictures includes puffed players, dismissed players and training in the snow