Rudy Paige (Gallo Images)
London – Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer says
his fresh scrumhalf and flyhalf faces on the bench for the United States
challenge at the World Cup here on Wednesday have been rewarded for their
patience and positive attitudes.
They represent an intriguing combination of
raw and street-wise, given that Rudy Paige will be wearing the green-and-gold
jersey for the first time, whilst seasoned pivot Morne Steyn stands to earn his
first cap (and personal 60th) since September 2014 against Australia
Should either or both get on the park against
the American minnows – the Boks will start with very much the nucleus of their
“first team”, a little against expectation – it will mark slightly belated
kicks-offs for the duo’s own tournaments after being peripheral for the first
three pool games.
At his team announcement press conference
on Tuesday evening, Meyer said of the 26-year-old Bulls No 9 Paige: “Rudy’s
been superb. He’s really trained hard, and learnt from two of the best
scrumhalves in the world (Fourie du Preez and Ruan Pienaar).
“I’m really happy for him ... he was over
the moon (about getting into the match-day squad).
“It’s going to quite a challenge for him
and others who haven’t played for quite some time, especially in the wet,
although Morne plays quite a lot in those conditions in Europe.”
That observation may be relevant because
rather more traditional autumnal weather has arrived in much off England, with
some rain beginning to replace a couple of dry, often sunny weeks at RWC.
“But he’s a gutsy character; has a great
box kick and fine service,” Meyer added. “He’s ready to go, having taken in so
much knowledge from senior guys. I can’t wait to see how he fares.
“It’s always a pleasure to see the surprise
and thankfulness on the faces of new guys.”
As for Steyn, Meyer said sections of the
media had been urging the selection of various players during the event, but
“there hasn’t been a lot of writing about ‘why doesn’t Morne play?’.”
“I mean this honestly: Morne is what all
South Africans and all Springboks should be -- he’s here to serve.
“It hasn’t been (easy) ... young guys have
been playing ahead of him, a 21-year-old (Handre Pollard, still the Bok
incumbent at No 10) and a 24-year-old (Pat Lambie).
“(His patience) shows the type of man he
is, and the character he possesses. I’ve never had to keep him positive; he
stays that himself.”
our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing. Rob is attending the Bok pool phase
of RWC 2015 to provide news and analysis for Sport24 readers.