Morné relies on Ricky's service
Ricky Januarie (Gallo Images)
Cape Town – Morné Steyn may not be Newlands’ favourite son, but in the Green and Gold of the Springboks rather than the blue of the Bulls, the only question Capetonians may have is whether Ricky Januarie’s service to him will be good enough.
The Bulls star, who condemned Western Province to defeat with a late penalty in last year’s Currie Cup semi-final, will be playing on the same field against France tomorrow.
This time, however, he does not have the comfort of regular Test halfback partner Fourie du Preez on his inside.
The halfback pairing of Du Preez and Steyn were crucial in South Africa’s golden season in 2009.
Du Preez was the tactical genius in the side, while Steyn’s boot kept the scoreboard ticking.
“I will have to adapt as Fourie and I have played together for a few seasons. Ricky is a different player to Fourie, but we trained well together this week and I’m looking forward to a good Test for both of us,” Steyn said ahead of the clash with France.
“Ricky has different strengths to Fourie and I’m looking forward to it. He also kicks well tactically. It’s also a strength of the French, so Ricky, Zane Kirchner and myself will have to be spot-on with our kicks.”
Steyn had a remarkable debut year with the Boks. Sometimes a world class player’s second year poses a greater challenge and without the best scrumhalf in the world next to him it may prove an even bigger one for Steyn.
“I’m actually feeling a little more comfortable than last year. Just as is the case in the Super 14, I will be up against some of the best flyhalves in the world,” Steyn said of the international season ahead.
“Fourie usually makes it easier for me, but Ricky has played close to 50 Tests.”
Apart from the penalties he conceded, Januarie had a good Test against Wales last week, though Western Province and the Stormers rate Dewaldt Duvenage higher than him.
However, Januarie’s talent cannot be doubted and he has played some good Tests for South Africa.
Steyn will at least have his regular team-mate Wynand Olivier on his outside, while Pierre Spies is also at No 8.
Steyn’s success ratio at posts in the 2010 Super 14 was 77%, but if the Bulls’ tour games in which he kicked 14 out of 26 are taken out of the equation, the figure moves up to an impressive 85%.
“You never know what to expect in the Cape, but I have been kicking well in training,” he said.