Div lauds 'No 1' pivot Steyn

2011-08-21 12:17
Morné Steyn (Gallo Images)

Port Elizabeth - Springbok coach Peter de Villiers was a mightily relieved man after his side's 18-5 Tri-Nations victory over the All Blacks at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium here on Saturday.

WIN your very own personalised Bok jersey

Click to BUY the Springbok kitchen recipe book

He had flyhalf Morné Steyn to thank, perhaps more than any one else.

Last week, De Villiers' demeanour was vastly different after his side was defeated by the Wallabies in Durban.

The Boks were under the whip in the opening minutes in Port Elizabeth but Steyn proved his match-winning ability with accurate place-kicks from just inside the All Blacks half.

The resultant timely advances fuelled the Boks' commitment in the face of frequent first-half line breaks by the New Zealanders.

"Morné is a very good rugby player," said De Villiers.

"He knows now that he is very important to this team and that he can take the team to the World Cup when he's on song, like he was in this match.

"He's still our number one. I've never had questions about Morné.

"Sometimes you have to make these decisions, like to drop him for two games to help his development.

"I know he can take this team through a World Cup."

The victory for the South Africans had offered great relief both for the team and the country's supporters.

"The result will help us going forward and make people believe in this team again," said De Villiers.

"It was a tough game but we came through this test of character.

"We were under huge pressure and it was a just reward for all the hard work."

De Villiers said it was clear the players were starting to understand the structures that management were putting in place and said this was the reason for the Boks' good scramble defence.

"Defence is all about teamwork and playing for each other, and the guys did that in this match," he said.

The Springboks' match-day captain Victor Matfield afterwards reflected on the team's ability to play as a unit after several players had been inactive in the past few months.

"Perhaps the pleasing aspect was that this game showed we are now coming together as a team," said Matfield.

"There is still room for a lot of improvement because we want to get even better and we have a lot of work to do between now and the World Cup.

"We'll look at the match video on Monday and then work on the detail.

"I was impressed with the defence. There will always be line breaks, but the guys worked hard to get back and make the cover tackles in good time."

All Blacks coach Graham Henry was unselfish as he lauded the Boks' match-winning performance.

"They played with a lot of passion and I thought the Boks were very good," said Henry.

"They scrambled well on defence, and kicked their goals.

"On the other hand, we had six opportunities to score and only took one of them."

Henry said he had no concern over his side's game plan as they managed to create enough scoring opportunities.

"I'm sure that when we get a few of our more experienced players back, I expect that things will settle down a bit," said Henry.

Henry's assistant Wayne Smith, also praised the Boks' cover defence.

"It's not too often that you break the opposition's line 23 times and you end up losing the match," said Smith.

"But it says a lot for their [the Boks'] scrambling defence.

"It looked like we lacked patience in closing those try-scoring situations.

"I suppose it was the new combinations or just youth, or maybe South Africa's defence was just too good on the day."



Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk
Most Read


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

LIVE: Namibia 6-0 Georgia
Boks thrash USA, Habana level with Lomu
French to hunt Sexton
Cipriani and Catt in pre-World Cup bust-up

Peter de Villiers, Pierre Spies, Butch James and Victor Matfield are all bringing out biographies later this year. Which one are you most looking forward to reading?

/World Cup
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


Take a photographical trip down memory lane and remind yourself of how the Springboks fared in their five previous Rugby World Cup campaigns. In addition, pick your all-time Springbok Rugby World Cup Dream Team and you could win R3 000!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.