Two time Rugby World Cup winner Francois Steyn has announced his retirement from professional rugby at the age of thirty-six.
Breaking through into the professional ranks as an eighteen-year-old phenom in 2006, Steyn would play a crucial role in the Springboks victory at the 2007 Rugby World Cup.
Making his debut for the Sharks in South Africa’s domestic Currie Cup campaign in 2006, Steyn would play for the Durban based side in the first ever all South African Super Rugby final in 2007.
His rapid rise up the ranks of South African rugby made him one of the most sought after signatures in the professional game when his contract expired in 2009.
At this point French Top 14 giants Racing 92 would swoop in, signing him to a two year deal worth a reported €750,000 per season.
#TOP14 #Retro 🎥🔙
🗓️ Saison 2009/2010
Qui se souvient du drop surpuissant tapé par François Steyn en barrages 2010… Un ovni était passé au dessus du Marcel Michelin 👽🛸 @racing92 pic.twitter.com/oohtL7XxyE
— TOP 14 Rugby (@top14rugby) February 15, 2023
During his stint in Paris, Steyn would be absent from the Springbok set-up with his last actions for the national side coming during a historic South African win in New Zealand.
In that match Steyn kicked three penalties from within his own half as the Springboks completed a clean sweep of New Zealand that season winning all three tests.
Prior to his heroics in Hamilton, Steyn featured in the Springboks 2 – 1 series victory over the British and Irish Lions.
Returning to the Sharks in 2012, Steyn would play two more seasons helping the Sharks reach the Super Rugby final in his first season back. Unfortunately for Steyn and the Sharks he was unable to feature in the final series due to his late addition to the squad for that season.
Having not been selected for Heyneke Meyer’s Springbok side in 2013, Steyn would once again leave South African shores. Initially for two seasons with Japanese Top League side the Toshiba Brave Lupus and later for four seasons with French side Montpellier.
During his first season in Montpellier, Steyn would help the club win the EPCR Challenge Cup as they defeated English side Harlequins 26 – 19 in the final.
Whilst at Montpellier, Steyn would be recalled to the Springbok side initially under then coach Allister Coetzee.
Once back in the national set-up, Steyn’s role became more one of a senior role player rather than a consistent starter. Playing a crucial role in the Boks famous ‘bomb squad’ due to his versatility of being able to cover every backline position outside of scrumhalf.
Clearly highly regarded amongst both his fellow players and coaches, Steyn was instrumental in winning South Africa’s third Rugby World Cup in 2019.
This victory made Steyn just the second South African to win the game’s biggest tournament as he followed in the footsteps of 1995 and 2007 champion Os Du Randt.
Since the 2019 tournament, Steyn like many other South African players has had limited opportunities at test level. Yet, as if to put a neatly tied bow on his career, his most recent action has come for the Free State Cheetahs as represented the province where he completed his schooling at the famous Grey College.
Steyn retires having made 76 appearances for the Springboks across a remarkable 17 year career.
— Rugby World Cup (@RugbyWorldCupFR) July 12, 2023