Francois Steyn: the ‘Existentialist” interview

Many South Africans may be wondering what happened to Francois Steyn since he left Durban to head for France to ply his trade with Racing Metro.  Big Daddy Rugby caught up with Francois Steyn outside a Paris theatre and managed to get in a quick Q & A with one of the heroes of the 2007 world cup campaign. Our impression?  Paris has done wonders for his maturity.

Francois Steyn "Freedom is what you do with what's been done to you."

Big Daddy Rugby (BDR): Francois, first of all thank you for taking the time to chat to one of the blogosphere. We appreciate you showing faith in our fledgling website.  So how different is the style of  rugby in France from what you experienced playing with the Sharks back in South Africa?

Francois Steyn (FS): Very different. At my first training session, the coach gathered us all together and presented a brief summary of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. Using that as a starting point, he unpicked all of the closely held beliefs I had clung to as boy growing up. We moved quickly through logical positivism before one of the members the front row shouted him down when coach rejected the idea that nihilism was not a coherent world view.

BDR: Err… right. So how do you spend your time in Paris now that you are away from old friends and family?

FS: Well, when I first arrived in Paris I focussed exclusively on my kicking as I wanted to establish myself as a first choice flyhalf. But I was soon drawn in by the bright lights of Paris, and become involved with parts of the Paris nightlife one doesn’t usually write about in newspapers.

BDR: You mean the night club scene?

FS: No, I got in with a group of street thinkers who introduced me to existentialism.  I can’t wait to share the ideas of Camus and Sartre with Keegan and the boys back in the Shark Tank.

BDR: How has your game changed since you moved up north? Do you still try those outrageous drop goals from inside your own half?

FS: You see Big Daddy, I realised that as a flyhalf I am condemned to be free.  As existence precedes essence I am thus fully responsible for my actions as a free individuals facing the void of eternity. We are all left alone, without excuse. There is no exit.

BDR: What’s it like playing at Stade Yves-du-Manoir?  Is the vibe similar to Durbs?

FS: What is happiness except the simple harmony between a backline player and the life he leads?  It is the void, the void is me.

BDR: How do you prepare for a match?

FS: By reminding myself that the concepts of authenticity and individuality have to be earned not learned. I try to experience death consciousness so as to wake up as to what is really important – namely the authentic in my life. Thus my pre-match preparation consists of contemplating the abyss in the changing room before I put on my jersey.

BDR: I was going to ask you how you celebrate your win, but I am not sure that I should.

FS: (blows smoke in my face)

BDR: Do you miss playing in South Africa?

FS: As Camus would say: Beauty is unbearable, it drives us to despair, offering us for a minute the glimpse of an eternity that we should like to stretch out over the whole of time.

BDR: Well. I can see where this is going Francois.  Good luck with the rest of your time at Racing Metro, we hope to see you back in the green and gold soon.

FS: (exits left, hops on his moped and careers recklessly into oncoming traffic)

Smokey the Bowler


  1. No, I think the reason he smokes is because he is influenced by 1960s era intellectuals.

  2. Son interview est surprenante et intéressante ( comme quoi les rugbymen ont un autre bagage culturel que les footballeurs…). Ceci dit sa réponse sur un éventuel retour en Afrique du Sud est plutôt fumeuse, c’est le cas de le dire…

    François, continue de fréquenter les héritiers du courant existencialiste!

  3. OMG just answer the question frans! What the hell is he smoking?!? He’s so deep in his answers. Haha. What a joke! Gotta love him though.

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