Steyn: Why I'm heading to France
Steyn: Why I'm heading to FranceSHARE
Veteran Springbok flyhalf Morné Steyn feels now is the right time to head abroad, even though his improved form could revive his Springbok prospects.
The Blue Bulls Company and Steyn confirmed on Monday that he will be leaving Pretoria for Paris at the end of 2013.
Steyn has decided to take up an offer from Stade Francais in France and will join them till June 2016, but will see out his contract with the BBC – which expires on October 31.
It means he will still be available for the Boks' mid-year Tests and the Rugby Championship, but thereafter he will almost certainly close the door on a record-breaking Test career.
Steyn was contracted to the BBC since 2003 and has decided to broaden his horizons after a decade with the Bulls and Blue Bulls, which saw him win numerous titles at Super Rugby, Currie Cup, Cup and junior levels.
As a Bulls player, Steyn was also picked to become a Springbok and has played in 42 Tests, scoring 486 points.
According to the 29-year-old pivot, it was time for a change.
"I have invested so much of my life with the Bulls, so it was a very tough decision to make," he said in a statement.
"I basically owe everything I achieved in rugby to them, but the opportunity to join Stade comes at the right time in my career.
"I always wanted to play some rugby abroad and experience a different lifestyle and now have the opportunity to go and do that," said Steyn.
"They have been negotiating with me for a while now and I have decided not to accept the offer from the BBC to extend my contract, but rather join Stade."
Commenting on this, Bulls coach Frans Ludeke gave Steyn his blessing.
"I don't think anyone can doubt or question the loyalty that Morné 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."
BBC High Performance Manager Xander Janse van Rensburg confirmed that they offered Steyn an extension to his contract, but could not match the lucrative French offer
"Morné also indicated to us that he will use the remainder of his time here to mentor our junior crop of flyhalves coming through, which is something we are very pleased about," Janse van Rensburg said.