WATCH: Morné Steyn and gymnastics? You better believe it…
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CAPE TOWN – Morné Steyn quips that he could go on playing for even longer than Victor Matfield and Schalk Brits did in their rugby careers.
Brits finished up at 38 in fine style as the Springboks won the 2019 Rugby World Cup, after actually deciding to retire in 2018 before Rassie Erasmus asked him to keep going.
Matfield’s chequered flag at Test level was the 2015 World Cup, where the Boks lost 20-18 to the All Blacks in the semi-final, after he made a comeback at 37 following two-and-a-half years of retirement. He finally ended things off in 2016 at English club Northampton just short of his 39th birthday.
Bulls flyhalf Steyn is going so strong at 36 that he is in line for a dramatic recall to the Springbok squad for the two-Test series against Georgia and the upcoming British and Irish Lions tour.
He would have turned 37 by the first Test in Cape Town on July 24, and the way he is feeling now, he could even beat Matfield and Brits.
“Victor took a year or two off, and then he came back. So, hopefully I can go right through!” Steyn said this week ahead of Saturday’s Rainbow Cup SA derby against the Lions at Ellis Park (3.30pm kickoff).
“I have been really blessed that I haven’t had any major injuries in my whole rugby career. I’ve never had serious knee injuries or operations, and that probably played a big role.
“But I am also someone who looks after my body – I like to stretch, I enjoy the recovery afterwards. I did do a bit of gymnastics at school, so I think the whole thing around my flexibility also helps a lot.
“Just the way in which you look after your body, and that at 36 or 37 still being able to run with the guys, still doing what all the young guys can do. I think it is about what you do with your body over the years and how you look after it.”
But he has already started thinking about life after retirement. “I did speak to Willem Strauss (Blue Bulls president), and my plan is to go into kicking coaching afterwards. My main focus is to actually target schools – I think that is a big thing that I can target,” Steyn said.
“I don’t think there is a lot of work on flyhalves on school level, so I think that is my main target, and to make difference in the younger people. I think everyone is targeting the unions like the Bulls, Sharks and Stormers, but where the foundation must be laid is at school level.”