Sona racks (part steel, part alu on the outer tube) were fitted to late model cars. Not sure if any VX'es had them as a factory install, although some may have received one when a rack was replaced.
There are some replacement parts available for those nowadays too like:
Titan ones are the originals and sold by most aftermarket sellers. These are one piece alu on the outer tube and look like:
As far as play, also use some vice-grips on the steering column under the dash and then turn the steering wheel lightly in each direction.
Often times the play comes from the U-joints on the secondary column section, either the joint itself or the splined connection on the shaft has gotten loose. In the latter one you can usually do up the pinch-bolts a little tighter.
Less common, but still an option as well is that the upper column telescopic section has broken internally. There's a nylon insert in the column to fixate th parts of the shaft, but over time it can fail and then the upper an lower telescoping sections can 'wiggle' around a little. This would be when you hold the secondary section of the shaft stationary and there's no play in that or the UJ's, but still there's play in the steering wheel.
Play/clonk on the steering rack itself is usually because the plastic cups in the end of the rack have fractured wor worn and allow the balljoint on the end to develop play there.
On a Titan you can replace those with bronze versions:
You will need to use a (valve-) lapping compound and an electric drill to lap them in/onto the end of the balljoint properly before installation.