Boks on Tour
Morné Steyn aiming for 100%
Morné Steyn (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg – The “easy” kick that Morné Steyn missed in the Currie Cup final is a big enough irritation to serve as motivation for success.
Steyn will play his first rugby match in France when he runs out for the Springboks against the home side at the Stade Municipal in Toulouse on Friday night.
It will be the first of three Tests on the Boks’ European tour. The others will be against Italy and Ireland.
“It’s been a big year to date, but I want to finish it on a high. And I want to focus on achieving a success ratio of 100% with my kicks in every game from now,” said Steyn.
The missed kick in the final is serving as inspiration.
Steyn does not expect the ball with which they will play on Friday night to be any different from the one they are used to.
But his halfback partner, Fourie du Preez, believes that Steyn’s excellent play in New Zealand will have a calming influence on his (Steyn’s) debut in France.
“It’s not much different there than in the New Zealand winter and he has performed very well there this year,” said Du Preez.
“We won the World Cup there two years ago, even if the weather conditions are more difficult now.”
Du Preez believes his opposite number, Julien Dupuy, is a tough customer. He expects Dupuy to put a lot of pressure on the combination of No 8 Ryan Kankowski and himself.
Du Preez and Steyn agree that French flyhalf Francois Trinh-Duc will look to use his physicality to his team’s advantage.
Steyn may well have his hands full against French battering rams on defence now that he has a new inside centre in Adrian Jacobs following Jean de Villiers’s departure.
“Wynand, Jean and I have played together a lot, so this is something new, but I think we can do well,” said the Bok flyhalf.
“Adi will be up for it. We focused a lot on our defence together with Jaque (Fourie) this week.”
For Steyn, Friday’s Test may also be the first of three where he climbs the ladder of the world’s leading flyhalves.
Steyn and Trinh-Duc are fresher faces in the November Tests than Dan Carter (New Zealand), Matt Giteau (Australia) and Jonny Wilkinson (England).
But Steyn and Du Preez are players whose ambitions have no boundaries and one is to help the Boks beat France.
Du Preez said that fatigue is not an issue in the Bok camp and that is why the team is as ready as they can be to beat France.
“I don’t know how high we can go. Had I been told earlier this year that we would achieve what we did, I would have thought it to be very high. But we’re going to try and reach even higher,” said Du Preez.