Brenden Nel - SuperSport
Johannesburg - Springbok fullback Frans Steyn is too good a player just to leave on the sidelines and therefore it wasn’t a difficult choice to include him the starting line-up for Saturday’s Vodacom Tri-Nations Test match against Australia at Loftus Versfeld.
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Bok captain John Smit believes Steyn’s recent club vs country battle has been put aside sufficiently and when it came to deciding whether or not to play him, it wasn’t a choice at all.
There has been some disappointment at the decision to drop fullback Gio Aplon out of the match 22 after several decent displays for the World Champions, but with Steyn’s club coach at Racing Metro, Pierre Berbizier suddenly doing an about turn and telling the world Steyn isn’t ready for Test action, Smit clearly doesn’t agree.
It also gives credence to the reports that senior players lobbied management for Steyn’s inclusion in the Tri-Nations squad for the home leg.
“I think all of us are not entirely sure what the full story is, so we can only think about what we know,” Smit told SuperSport.com of Steyn’s saga to get back into the Bok side. “What we know is that Frans is an unbelievable player with a phenomenal boot, a good ball carrier and a guy who can do magical things.
“We can’t leave a guy like that out of an international game. What happened in the past is in the past, he is a phenomenal player and has a key role to play in the team.”
Smit said while it was difficult to overcome the last minute loss at FNB Stadium last weekend, it was far easier standing up again this week compared to the three away losses in New Zealand and Australia.
“It was a far greater disappointment after the first three Tri Nations games because in those we didn’t get anywhere near the sort of play we should have. On Saturday there were signs of what this team can do when they are playing well,” Smit told SuperSport.com “Obviously with the sense of occasion there came disappointmenet but what we now need to do is to take those positives and take enough out of Saturday and use that to get a victory on Saturday at Loftus.”
The Bok captain said while the Boks were in a similar position to 2006, where they lost five straight, it made the team’s desire and desperation for a victory on Saturday even more apparent, so as not to equal that record. “The similarities are profound and you would think we would be used to the felling having gone through it four years ago. But that is what makes it hurt so more and makes it so much more frustrating is that we are sitting with so much potential in this team and when little things go wrong, we lose. We’re determined to keep that losing streak to four and not five like in 2006.”