Meyer dealing with Steyn 'curve-ball'
Meyer dealing with Steyn 'curve-ball'SHARE
Heyneke Meyer "respects" Frans Steyn's decision to make himself unavailable for Springbok selection, but admits he is disappointed in having to deal with it the middle of a Test series.
Steyn was released from the Bok squad at his own request on Tuesday and will not feature in any of South Africa's remaining June Tests, as he considers his international playing future.
Although Steyn and the South African Rugby Union have thrown a veil of secrecy over the subject, rugby365 believes money might be at the centre of the World Cup winner's gladiatorial walk-out.
Meyer, who admitted to have been taken by surprise by the players' decision, said he has the utmost respect for Steyn.
"I have always had a great relationship with Frans Steyn, on and off the field," Meyer told a media briefing in Durban on Wednesday – where the team is preparing for the first of two Tests against Wales.
"I was one of the main figures [role players] in bringing him back to South Africa," he said of Steyn's return to the Republic from France in 2012.
"He is an unbelievable rugby player," Meyer said, adding: "I respect him as a rugby player and as a human being.
"Obviously I am disappointed that he is not available, but understand that and I respect his decision.
"I just want to wish him and his family the best of luck for their future – you never know what the future holds."
Meyer said the unforeseen event is obviously "a bit disruptive".
However, as a national coach that is something you have to deal with.
Meyer described it as probably the toughest two weeks since taking over as Bok coach in 2012.
"It has been tough with losing the captain and a lot of [other] changes," he said.
"You don't just lose five quality centres within the space of a week or week-and-a-half, but that is the challenge of the job.
"You plan for five months, you can't wait to get going and suddenly you get curve-balls from all over.
"We'll just get on with it and I believe in the players we have.
"As a [Bok] coach you don't have a lot of time," Meyer said, adding: "So when you have a squad of 30 and 35 you do have other guys training with the squad. You prepare for injuries and you prepare for the long-run as well.
"Jan [Serfontein] know all the moves, he has trained with us and he has prepared well. He has played with Morné [Steyn], but he hasn't played with JP [Pietersen]. It will be a step-up there and he will have to work on his defence there."
Meyer said they have lost a bit of "continuity" through Steyn's sudden departure.