Calcutta Cup: new dad Kyle Steyn ready to fight for Scotland spot versus England

Winger was a late call-off against France after his wife went in to labour on eve of match

Kyle Steyn had other things on his mind when Scotland played France a fortnight ago. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Kyle Steyn had other things on his mind when Scotland played France a fortnight ago. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

KYLE STEYN had to pay extra close attention to Scotland’s debrief of their France defeat a fortnight ago, because although he kept one eye on the action as much as he could manage whilst the game was playing out, the winger had other things on his mind that day.

Initially selected to start the game in the No 14 jersey in the Six Nations round two clash at Murrayfield, but had to call off on the morning of the game when his wife, Ally, went into labour with their first child.

“I was at dinner [the night before the match] and had my phone on ‘do not disturb’ but I’d left it so that only my wife’s number could get through,” he recalls. “As soon as the phone went, I knew exactly. I got a bit of a fright, to be honest.


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“I went straight to James Robson [the team doctor] and Gregor Townsend [head coach] and told them I was going and we said we’d keep communications open. She had been in labour from about 4 o’clock on Friday and we were hoping maybe I could make it back if baby was born in the middle of the night, but it didn’t go that way.

“Big credit to Harry Paterson [who came into the team at full-back] and Kyle Rowe [who switched from full-back to Steyn’s wing berth], both changed positions last minute. ‘Patters’ had a great debut and Kyle did really well on the wing and I was busy on the couch. I was trying my best to watch but every five minutes my attention went elsewhere.

“She [healthy new daughter called Arabella Rose] wasn’t born until Monday at 11.20ish. It ended up being a c-section for my wife. She was an absolute champion all the way through, but it was a long one for her and by the end of it I think they just said that mum and baby are both a bit tired and the doctors made the decision that the safest way was just to get her out.”

With all well at home, there was never any doubt that Steyn would return from the fallow week determined to regain his place in the side for this coming Saturday’s Calcutta Cup clash against England at Murrayfield.

“Granny arrived on Friday – my mum flew over from South Africa, so that’s been a bit of magic to be honest. I’ve been able to catch up on a bit of sleep,” he explained.

“I have been to-ing and fro-ing between home and camp,” he added. “I haven’t actually spent a night in camp. Tonight is my first night, so I’m buzzing. I’ve had a sauna, an ice bath and I’ve got a massage later then a full night’s sleep, so I can’t wait.”

“My wife was amazing those last couple of weeks, being fully supportive of me going out to Spain [for Scotland’s pre-tournament camp] then going down to Cardiff [for the opening game of the championship], and by that stage she was over her due date so it literally could have been any minute.

“She was going through probably the toughest moment of her life and she was willing to get behind me and support what I was wanting to do, so I felt a lot of support in that and just everyone in the environment has been brilliant. I’ve loved been able to go between the two.”

 

 

Of course, the performances of Paterson and Rowe against France mean it is far from a foregone conclusion that Steyn will walk straight back into the side, especially as Blair Kinghorn has also returned to from the knee injury which kept him out of the first two rounds of the campaign to join the selection battle in the back-three.

“Kyle has been superb for Glasgow all season and he fitted in seamlessly at full-back for the Wales game, then got to go back to the wing against France and was brilliant there again,” acknowledged Steyn. “He’s a great player, who plays with a lot of confidence.

“For Harry to come in at the eleventh hour like that and play the way he did with the confidence he showed, that was a great debut – and it shows he’s not going anywhere in the next couple of years, he’s going to be there fighting for it [selection] too.

“As far as the Six Nations goes and being a Scottish rugby player, there’s no bigger occasion than Calcutta Cup at home. We’re really excited by the opportunity, especially in a year where we’ve only got two home games. We had the force of Murrayfield behind us for the France game and the boys are really looking forward to feeling that support again on the weekend.

“It’s an amazing game to play. I’ve never played Calcutta Cup at home so I can’t wait for that. It’s a great challenge and one we’re looking forward to.”

 

 

He has, of course, been involved in a Calcutta Cup match away from home, and has fond memories of that famous victory at Twickenham just over a year ago.

“Starting the campaign with a win like that was incredible. I’ve got a photo on my phone – I jumped into James Robson’s arms because I was on the wing where he was as the final whistle went – so there’s a cracking photo I looked out the other day when he announced he’s retiring.

“We definitely take confidence from that, and a bit of momentum, but coming off the back of the World Cup, they’ve just made the semi-finals and they seem to be finding their gears under the new management. They are a really good side with a lot of threats, so it’s a great challenge for us.”

And if he is selected against England, Steyn will have some special supporters in the crowd to provide that extra motivational edge.

“Yeah, they’ll be there at the weekend. My mum as well. Scottish Rugby gifted me a little jersey which says ‘Daddy’ on the back, so if I get to play with them there it will be amazing.”


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About David Barnes 3911 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.