Steyn likely to be Bok pivot

2014-05-12 14:00
Morne Steyn (Getty Images)
Cape Town - Expect Morné Steyn to return to do duty in the Springbok No 10 jersey later this year.

Sport24 feels no South African flyhalf has done enough in Super Rugby this year to convince Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer to replace his favourite No 10 for the upcoming Incoming Tests and Rugby Championship shortly thereafter.

Handré Pollard had a stellar game for the Bulls against the Stormers over the weekend, kicking 20 points in their 28-12 victory at Loftus Versfeld which led to calls for the youngster to be elevated to the Bok ranks later this year.

Those calls may be a bit premature though.

It has to be noted that the 20-year-old has played only 10 Super Rugby matches, and only recently took over the Bulls starting role from Jacques-Louis Potgieter.

Pollard will play for the Baby Boks in the Junior World Championship later this year and should be given time to find his feet before being rushed into the rigours of Test rugby.

But besides Pollard, there aren’t too many flyhalves staking a claim for higher honours in 2014.

Frans Steyn had one of his worst games at flyhalf for the Sharks against the Brumbies in Canberra at the weekend, where the Durbanites were out-foxed in the tactical kicking department, while the decision-making of the Cheetahs' Johan Goosen has let him down too often this season.

The Lions' Marnitz Boshoff started the season like a house on fire, but has also made some tactical errors in recent times, which led to him being relegated to the Lions bench in the past few weeks.

He was back in the No 10 jersey for last weekend's clash against the Highlanders in Dunedin, but missed crucial kicks which could have won the match for the Lions.

His replacement - Elton Jantjies - is also yet to regain the form which made him a Springbok in 2012. On Saturday, he had a last-minute conversion to win the game, and while his effort from the touchline hit the posts, it didn't have the "legs" to go over the crossbar - an indication of a lack of confidence which has plagued Jantjies for the best part of a year now.

The Sharks' Pat Lambie is sidelined with a bicep injury and could only return for the last two weeks of Super Rugby, while the only other South African flyhalf worth mentioning is the Western Force's Sias Ebersohn, who did well in his side's 23-16 win over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein at the weekend.

Uncertainly also remains over whether Ebersohn harbours Wallaby aspirations and thus wouldn't be available for the Green and Gold.

Neither of Peter Grant nor Demetri Catrakilis have shone this season for the Stormers. Grant's time in Japan appears to have done nothing for his game, while Catrakilis, who was called up into the Springbok training squad last year while still at the Kings, has also seen his game go backwards back in the Cape.

Therefore, Sport24 reckons Meyer will fall back on his old tried and tested No 10 - Morné Steyn - for the Test season. Steyn struggled somewhat at his French club Stade Francais this past season, but has an uncanny ability to turn it on when playing under the guidance of Meyer. With the type of game plan the Bok coach wants to enforce, it's hard to see any other player than Steyn wearing the Bok No 10 jersey for most of the international season.

The lack of form from SA's flyhalves in Super Rugby should be of major concern though, especially compared to the red-hot form displayed by New Zealand's No 10s in 2014.

Apart from Dan Carter (sabbatical) and Aaron Cruden (injured), all of Colin Slade (Crusaders), Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes), Gareth Anscombe (Chiefs) and Simon Hickey (Blues) have displayed skills superior compared to their South African counterparts.

Slade in particular was simply sublime in the Crusaders' 57-29 annihilation of the Reds in Brisbane on Sunday when he landed 11 out of 11 kicks for a personal haul of 27 points.

The All Blacks would be fine without Carter and Cruden, but imagine what the Boks would do if Steyn and Lambie were suddenly unavailable for a key Rugby Championship Test... ?

HAVE YOUR SAY: Who do you think should wear the Springbok No 10 jersey this year? Send your thoughts to Sport24.


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