Springbok and Cheetahs centre Frans Steyn could be on his way to the Bulls on a loan deal for next year’s PRO16 tournament, according to reports.
As was confirmed last month, South Africa’s four Super Rugby franchises – the Stormers, Lions, Sharks and Bulls – will join an expanded PRO16 tournament in 2021, with the Cheetahs, who have been axed from the tournament, having to play in the SA Cup.
The SA Cup is also a new tournament and will involve all 14 provincial unions and be similar to the old Vodacom Cup and SuperSport Rugby Challenge.
According to Sunday’s Rapport newspaper, both the Cheetahs and SA Rugby would have to agree to Steyn’s loan as he is a nationally contracted player.
Steyn, now 33, naturally wants to play for the Springboks in next year’s British & Irish Lions series and it therefore makes sense for him to compete in the higher-quality PRO16 than what the SA Cup could offer.
With South African unions only allowed to contract 45 senior professional players, there is a distinct possibility that the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Western Province will have to select amateur players for the SA Cup as it will clash with the PRO16, Varsity Cup and national U20 tournament.
Steyn is a double Rugby World Cup winner having been part of the Springbok sides to have triumphed in 2007 in France and 2019 in Japan.
Steyn was selected for that 2007 victory in Paris by Jake White who he would rejoin at the Bulls should the loan be approved.
Boasting a prodigious boot, Steyn has played 67 Tests for the Springboks to date.