Steyn ends Bok hiatus
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: World Cup-winning utility back Francois Steyn ended a five-year hiatus when he joined up with the Springbok squad on Wednesday.
Steyn, who walked out on the Boks in the wake of a much-publicised public spat with the South African Rugby Union over image rights payments in 2014, joined the national team at its training camp in Plettenberg Bay.
The 30-year-old said he is looking forward to his return to the Bok surroundings.
He joined the squad after playing for the Barbarians against England at Twickenham last Sunday.
The Springbok squad is currently busy with a week-long training camp in Plettenberg Bay in preparation for the three-Test Series against France, which kicks off on Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on June 10.
He was scheduled to play for South Africa against Wales in 2014 when the spat over image rights payments boiled over and he walked away.
He has since settled his differences with the national body.
"Coach Allister and I had a good chat and he told me I can still make a contribution towards the Springboks, while I told him I would do my best for the team when I join them," said Steyn, who has not played in a Test for the Boks since 2012.
"I am looking forward to getting to know the squad members a bit better during the next couple of days," added Steyn.
In welcoming the player to the squad, Springbok coach Allister Coetzee said he was really looking forward to Steyn slotting into the squad over the next couple of days.
"Frans comes with a wealth of experience and I am delighted that he has joined us as we continue with our preparations for the French series," the coach said.
"With so many new faces in the squad's backline it really is a huge bonus to have a player of the calibre of Frans joining us," Coetzee added.
Steyn plays for French club side Montpellier and was the youngest member of the 2007 World Cup winning squad which lifted the Webb Ellis Cup in France.
He is one of the most versatile players ever to don the Springbok jersey - having played at flyhalf, centre (inside and outside), wing and fullback for the Boks.
Steyn reached his 50th Bok Test cap against Argentina during the Rugby Championship in 2012, and has represented South Africa in 53 Test matches and three non-cap internationals.
The Boks will wrap up their preparations in Plettenberg Bay on Saturday and will travel north to Pretoria on Sunday.