I see him as one of the best centres in the world, if not the best
Amidst the hype and drama of the Sharks versus Bulls Super Rugby derby in Durban on Friday, there is an intriguing sideshow.
The Sharks' Frans Steyn and Wynand Olivier of the Bulls, two Springboks teammates and rivals for the Bok No.12 jersey, will go head-to-head for the first time in three years.
Steyn, 25, featured in the first two Tests against England last month, before he missed the third and final international in order to get married.
Olivier (29) took over at inside centre and was South Africa's best player in Port Elizabeth.
On Saturday they will go head-to-head in a showdown that has generated almost as much debate as the colloquy over who should play at flyhalf for the Boks.
Steyn, who made his Test debut exactly five months after Olivier but has played in 12 more internationals, will make his first appearance in a Sharks jersey since he left for France in 2009.
Olivier, who will head to Japan for a sabbatical after the Super Rugby season, has seldom received the recognition his peers feel he deserves.
"I'm looking forward to playing against Wynand Olivier," Steyn said of Friday's showdown.
"I see him as one of the best centres in the world, if not the best, so it will be a tough, but exciting test, for Tim [Whitehead, the Sharks No.13] and myself ... hopefully we can make the Sharks supporters proud."
Steyn, who has 49 Tests to his credit, said the last few weeks have been "hectic", as he needed to pack up in France, while planning and preparing for a wedding, while also playing in the Test series against England.
"Hopefully now I can concentrate on the rugby," the Sharks' 2007 World Cup winner said.
He also spoke of his "excitement" at getting back into Super Rugby after three years.
"I've been away for a long time, but when I got back on Monday, it didn't feel like I had been away long.
"It's interesting being back, meeting some of the young guys.
"I realised that there are a lot of young players and JP [Pietersen] and I being seniors in the backline is quite scary, but we need to step up on the weekend."
He admitted it will be a tall order to readjust to the pace and physicality of Super Rugby.
"I'm definitely going to be sore after this game, but I'm really looking forward to it. It's been a while since I played against Wynand Olivier and Morné Steyn, so it's a huge challenge for me but I'm really looking forward to it."
He said that while he is settling in okay at the Sharks, there are still a few moves he has to master.
"I'm studying the paperwork," he said of the 'gameplan' for Friday's match.
"It's going to be physical, but the whole team is looking forward to it.
"It's a huge challenge for us to see if the team can do well not only for this Super Rugby tournament but also for next year.
"This is going to be a big step for us to see where we are at the moment and where we are going."
Sharks coach John Plumtree also expressed his delight at having the big midfielder back.
"We're luck to have Frans," Plumtree said of Steyn's return, adding that he is "excited" about the new midfield combination of Steyn and Whitehead.
"It's new, they don't really know each other yet, but hopefully they will settle in quickly and complement each other's skills."