After a nightmare of a year spent injured in lockdown, Kyle Steyn emerged firing on all cylinders and is now poised to add to his single cap this summer.
The Glasgow centre/wing won’t get a full cap for playing for Scotland A against England A at Leicester on Sunday but there are two capped games to come against Romania and Georgia and end the risk of being a one-cap wonder.
The South African-born flyer – his Dad was Nelson Mandela’s bodyguard – got on as a replacement in the last pre-lockdown international against France in March 2020 and helped lift the Auld Alliance Trophy. However he suffered two serious hamstring injuries and didn’t play again for the Warriors until this April.
‘Nobody wants to be a once cap wonder’
“Nobody wants to be a one cap wonder,” he said. “That has stuck with me way longer than I wanted it to.
“It will be absolutely brilliant to put on the thistle again. It will be a really strong game against England A while that won’t count as a cap, hopefully going forward I will be able to play against Romania and Georgia and get past that one.
“This doesn’t feel like anything but a full international. We have got a really exciting group and the work that’s been done in the season puts us in a pretty good place. Those of us coming in are really excited to be able to contribute to the summer tour.”
Such a toil with injury for a long period might have made some a little tentative coming back. But Steyn threw himself back into the fray and certainly caught the eye in Glasgow’s last few games of the season.
“When I re-started training I found I was hyper sensitive when I got any stiffness or strain on my muscles,” he admitted. “It was a process of working through those first few weeks.
“Once I got back playing and my mind was on the ball and on the game again. It is great to have the sun out at training at the moment.”
‘It was brilliant to see everybody cheered up’
— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) June 18, 2021
Steyn admits to having enjoyed being in Scotland for the first time during a summer football tournament (same as many of the natives, Kyle). But Euro 2021 has had an affect on the rugby preparations beyond just positivity, he revealed.
“I think that we all feel like that that we are on the home straight (after Covid). Getting back to some sort of normal life helps. It’s been an incredibly exciting time and that was shown with the Scotland-England game last week.
“That boogie-woogie song going all on week last week! Since I have been in Scotland, it was the first time a game of that magnitude has taken place.
“It was brilliant to see how everybody cheered up. I couldn’t believe so many of fans flooded down to London even when there was zero chance of most of them getting into the game. They just wanted to be there as fans, which was brilliant.”
‘It highlights how fundamental it can be to have those skills’
But at training Scotland’s medical director Dr James Robson took a much more serious line with the players. The veteran doc instructed the squad in basic CPR should any incident occur as befell Denmark’s Christian Eriksen in the first match of the soccer tournament.
“That’s clearly what has brought it into focus,” said Steyn. “It was the on field response that kept him alive. Unfortunately that kind of incident highlights how fundamental it can be to have those basic skills.
“Doctor James thought it was a good idea. If it happened on the football field it could happen on the rugby field. It is a good skill to have and could be vital.
“We know the speed the Danish medical team reacted for Christian meant the situation was handled as well as it could have been. Thankfully he has come out the other side.”