Sharks coach John Plumtree is adamant that in Frans Steyn, he has inherited a better player than the one that went to play his rugby in France.
One who has gone on to get over 50 caps for the Springboks … And this has given the Sharks boss the confidence to hand him the skipper’s armband.
“Frans becomes the ideal candidate for the captaincy in terms of experience,” Plumtree said.
“It’s an opportunity for him to grow his leadership. I’ve noticed a big difference in him in terms of his personality and character since he’s come back from France. The players have a lot of respect for him as an individual and as a player.
“He’s a very competitive person. He doesn’t like to come second in anything he does and he’s probably going to be a regular starter.”
Even if the player himself feels slightly differently … who admits to the captaincy coming as a bit of a surprise …
“It’s not something I (had) thought about too much, so it was a little bit of a shock, ” the 25-year-old said on Tuesday.
“I think I’m still the same guy, although Plum (Plumtree) disagrees,” he joked when asked what had changed since his spell in Europe.
“It’s difficult to say, but I’m trying to be the same and just enjoy my life here.”
It’s certainly an interesting development, and with handling the media never having been high on Steyn’s agenda, and also known to carry the odd scowl when things are not going his way, one has to wonder whether the added responsibility of the captaincy will add or detract from his game.
I guess we will know more on Saturday evening …
Sharks 2013 squad
Bismarck du Plessis
Jannie du Plessis
Pieter-Steph du Toit
Franco van der Merwe
This weekend’s Super Rugby fixtures:
Friday 22 Feb:
08:35 Highlanders vs Chiefs, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
10:40 Rebels vs Brumbies, AAMI Park, Melbourne
19:10 Bulls vs Stormers, Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Saturday 23 Feb
08:35 Hurricanes vs Blues, Westpac Stadium, Wellington
10:40 Reds vs Waratahs, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
17:05 Cheetahs vs Sharks, Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
19:10 Kings vs Force, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth