Div to keep Steyn at No 12
Cape Town - Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has hinted he might keep Frans Steyn at inside centre for the remainder of the Rugby World Cup, despite the expected return to fitness of Jean de Villiers.
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The Bok coach confirmed to Die Burger newspaper that he had never intended to play Steyn exclusively at fullback in New Zealand.
"Frans knew from the beginning that he would play inside centre for us," said De Villiers.
Which makes sense given that Steyn played the majority of his rugby at inside centre for his club, Racing Metro, in France.
Steyn was impressive at No 12 against Fiji last week. His physical presence allowed him to attack the advantage line, his ball distribution was sound and his long-range kicking proved vital.
De Villiers believes Steyn's weight counts in his favour at inside centre. "If you consider how important defence has become and you see how much weight can help you get over the advantage line, then you have to go with it (a heavy player)."
"It's at our front door and we have to use it. I think Frans will play a big role in our plans going forward."
At the 2007 World Cup, an injury to Jean de Villiers in the Boks' first game against Samoa gave Steyn a chance to play at No 12 for the rest of the tournament. However, this time round the Western Province centre is expected to return, leaving coach De Villiers with a tough choice.
But the indications are that Steyn will get the nod, with the Capetonian set to be utilised as an impact player.
"It's fantastic to be in such a position. Just think, once you have broken down that wall and you bring Jean on from the bench with all his pace and initiative. That's exactly how our substitutes bench should look. If you have players like Danie Rossouw, Willem Alberts, Bismarck du Plessis, Francois Hougaard and Jean on the bench - it is something exceptional."
The coach believes no other country has the luxury of being able to send on such a strong bench.
South Africa's next World Cup game - against Namibia on Thursday - kicks-off at 10h00 South African time.
15 Pat Lambie, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Willem Alberts, 5 Danie Rossouw, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 CJ van der Linde, 2 John Smit (captain), Gurthro Steenkamp.
Substitutes: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Francois Louw, 19 Heinrich Brüssow, 20 Fourie du Preez, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Juan de Jongh.
15 Chrysander Botha, 14 Danie Dames, 13 Danie van Wyk, 12 Piet van Zyl, 11 Heine Bock, 10 Theuns Kotze, 9 Eugene Jantjies, 8 Jacques Nieuwenhuis, 7 Jacques Burger (c), 6 Tinus du Plessis, 5 Nico Esterhuyse, 4 Heinz Koll, 3 Marius Visser, 2 Bertus O'Callaghan, 1 Johnnie Redelinghuys
Substitutes: 16 Hugo Horn, 17 Jané du Toit, 18 Pieter Jan van Lill, 19 Rohan Kitshoff, 20 Ryan de la Harpe, 21 Darryl de la Harpe, 22 Conrad Marais
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