Pretoria - Despite a man-of-the-match performance on Saturday at Coca Cola Park, Blue Bulls coach Pine Pienaar told the supersport.com website that his kingpin flyhalf Morné Steyn will have to take another step up in this weekend’s Currie Cup showdown against the Sharks in Durban.
Steyn made a welcome return to form on Saturday but was the first to admit the forward domination laid a perfect platform for him to play.
But considering the season he has had, and the dip in confidence, there was more than enough to be happy about in the way he played, with the Blue Bulls sneaking into the semi-finals of the competition with their powerful performance on Saturday.
There is no doubt there will be a lot of attention on the duel between Steyn and Patrick Lambie, especially with a spot on the end of year tour coming up and no certainty who will take the No 10 jersey at that level.
Lambie impressed in the big win over Griquas as well, although for both flyhalves you can make the argument that they were hardly tested, given the dominance their packs had up front.
That definitely won’t be the case on Saturday as the two teams meet for the right to challenge for the premier domestic trophy with the Sharks favoured to start as heavy favourites given the season they have had thus far.
Pienaar said he was impressed with Steyn’s resolve, especially as he had his fair share of boos from Lions fans on Saturday.
“I’m happy for Morné, and we expected fans to boo him when he kicks for post. He went through a tough spot and as management we backed him and I’m glad he came through. His self-confidence was good and hopefully he can take another step up next week,” Pienaar said.
The Bulls coach said he believed Steyn needs to take that step up, and prove himself again, not because the public wanted it, but because he wanted to do it for his team-mates.
“Morné will want to come out next week and play better, not to prove his critics wrong, but more for himself and for the team that he wants to prove something. I’m looking forward to seeing how he plays against Patrick, and he will have to be better and take another step up from our win over the Lions.”
Pienaar said the important thing for the Bulls to work on this week is accuracy, as they need to ensure that from their setpieces to their kicking game, all is spot on. If not, the Sharks impressive home record speaks for itself.
“A semi-final is a funny type of day, you have to be accurate in putting pressure on the other team. The last time we beat the Sharks in Durban was in 2006 and I think they only lost one game this year at home, and that was against the Chiefs,” Pienaar explained.
“It will definitely be a tough one, but we’ve given ourselves an opportunity and it depends now how accurate and how spot-on you can be. There is a lot of work ahead of us this week to maybe give ourselves an opportunity of a final.”
While the task will be difficult, if Pienaar’s side can pull it off, it will be one step away from an unbelievable comeback considering they were languishing close to a promotion/relegation game until last Saturday.