KYLE STEYN marked the occasion of signing a two-year contract extension at Glasgow Warriors (which will keep him at the club until the end of the 2021-22 season), to call upon his team-mates to focus in on the here and now by getting a valuable win away to La Rochelle on Saturday.
A positive result at the Stade Marcel Deflandre would put Dave Rennie‘s team in a very strong position to qualify for the knock-out stages of the Champions Cup as one of the three best second placed teams at the conclusion of the pool phase.
It has the potential to be a fiery affair, with La Rochelle having had a few disciplinary issues in their last European outing (a 25-15 loss away to Sale Sharks), when they conceded 17 penalties, including two yellow cards and a red card for hooker Pierre Bourgarit after an eye-gouging incident.
There was also a fuss over a stomping incident by centre centre Geoffrey Doumayrou although he only picked up a penalty. Afterwards, La Rochelle head coach Ronan O’Gara talked about needing to educate his players so that they know here the line is that they cannot cross.
With so much at stake, it is vital that Glasgow keep their own discipline, regardless of what provocation they might face.
“It maybe comes down to having a look to the culture – are they holding each other accountable? But I really don’t know too much about what is going on in their camp, so it really isn’t for me to say,” said Steyn.
“We don’t need those kinds of distractions and getting hot-headed in the moment. We need all 15 of us on the pitch and focussed on what we need to do – and not getting carried away with anything else,” he added.
Turning attention towards his contract extension, Steyn said it was a no-brainer. “I’ve been able to settle in well, my fiancé has come over and she’s settled in well and gets on well with most of the girlfriends – we’ve got tonnes of family over here – so it has been pretty easy,” said the 25-year-old, who was born and raised in Johannesburg but qualifies to play for Scotland through his Glaswegian mother.
With his medium-term future sorted out, the 25-year-old says he is now focussed on rediscovering the form which helped him to break into the side whilst on secondment from the Scotland 7s squad during the second half of last season, earning a call-up for the World Cup training camp after a series of impressive performances.
“It has been a little bit frustrating personally not being able to kick on from the end of last season, but that’s part and parcel of the career we are in,” he said. “There is going to be ebbs and flows so it is just about fighting through that and picking up minutes where I can.
“I think just more of an aggressive presence in defence, is one of the big ones; and in attack, getting a bit of a balance between pass and carry.”
Steyn was interviewed at a press call arranged to highlight the three years extension until 2022 of a strategic partnership between Glasgow Warriors and Strathclyde University.
“The partnership and the rugby programme gives students the opportunity to train more like elite athletes, with much more professional sessions,” said the university’s Director of Rugby Gary Strain, who is a club stalwart at local Premiership side Glasgow Hawks.
“Our new Strathclyde Sport facility has a fantastic gym with top quality strength and conditioning coaches who work hand in hand with me, so it lets the students improve as athletes.
“There’s now a team of three coaches under me for the men’s section and a head coach for the women, with 140 students in total and the eventual goal is to be the number one University in Scotland for rugby.
“There is a great culture of making friends and team sports is proven to have great benefits for health and mental wellbeing. Being a member of the team also hopefully makes university more of an enjoyable experience.”