For veteran Springbok and Cheetahs midfielder Frans Steyn, the end of the Free State team’s Currie Cup campaign was a bittersweet experience.
Having been ruled out of playoff contention, the Cheetahs closed their campaign with a lacklustre 22-18 win over the hapless Griquas in Kimberley on Saturday.
Steyn was named Man of the Match for a second straight weekend after kicking 17 points, and has now succeeded with 27 straight kicks at goal in his last three matches.
“I am just happy the Currie Cup season is done now for us and we can go back and have the batteries recharged,” said the 33-year-old two-time World Cup winner.
“We would naturally have loved to be in a position to feature in the playoffs, but we have to be realistic that the season has been tough for us.”
The Currie Cup semifinals would be contested on January 23, it was confirmed at the weekend, with the final to be played on January 30 after it was pushed out by a week due to Covid concerns.
The Cheetahs, meanwhile, will have a three-week break before they start to prepare for a possible local competition at the end of February, which is yet to be confirmed.
“It’s not an excuse but maybe it’s a blessing in disguise to take a break away from rugby and refocus on what we can achieve in the future,” Steyn said.
“I don’t know what kind of competition we are going to play in next, but we have to ensure we are good enough to play in that competition and hopefully perform well.”
Steyn, who felt embarrassed that one of his kicks was charged down by the shortest player on the field – Griquas scrumhalf and captain Zak Burger – said it had been a challenge to motivate themselves for the dead rubber clash.
“It’s difficult to get yourself up and motivated, especially going to Kimberley, and we knew they were going to come for us,” he said.
“Getting to that stage when there’s nothing on the line is tough, but we wanted to play well and shift the ball around.”
Though Griquas ended the campaign without a win, they pushed the Cheetahs close and only the kicking boot of Steyn stood between the Peacock Blues and their first victory of the season.
“Griquas managed to put us under pressure and we made a lot of mistakes,” Steyn said.