End of the road for Morne Steyn?

2016-10-23 10:29
Morne Steyn (Gallo)

Cape Town - The hype was centred around the return of Jannie du Plessis and the continued omission of Duane Vermeulen, but there was something else that stood out from Allister Coetzee's Springbok squad selection on Saturday.

Coetzee named a 33-man squad that will travel to the northern hemisphere for Tests against England, Italy and Wales next month. 

And, significantly, there was no Morne Steyn. 

Steyn had been rushed into the Bok squad in the June Test series against Ireland when Pat Lambie was left concussed following the first Test in Cape Town. 

He had played second-fiddle to Elton Jantjies for the rest of that series and most of the Rugby Championship, but by the end of the Championship he had done enough to win back the No 10 jersey. 

A fine kicking display saw Steyn score all of the points in the Boks' 18-10 win over Australia in Pretoria, but Steyn could do nothing to stop the All Blacks in Durban. 

He still kicked all of the Boks' points, but in the end they were smashed 57-15 on what was one of the darkest days in South African rugby history. 

As it turns out, that could be the last time we see Steyn in the green and gold. 

Steyn is 32-years-old now, and if there is anywhere where he seems like an attractive option, it is surely the northern hemisphere. 

That he has not been selected in conditions where tactical and goal kicking are generally crucial says a lot about where Coetzee is going. 

The Bok coach has emphasised time and time again that he wants a flyhalf who can manage the game in all departments. 

Coetzee needs someone who can kick his side into the right positions, but he also needs someone who can spark attacks and release runners. 

Steyn can do one of those things, but Coetzee seems to finally be prepared to move on from a No 10 who is exceptional with the boot but offers little else on attack.

Pat Lambie and Elton Jantjies are the two obvious options at flyhalf for the tour, while Johan Goosen also provides cover. 

It will be interesting to see where Coetzee goes with this. 

Will he give Jantjies another crack, or will he turn to Lambie? 

Lambie, remember, was Coetzee's first-choice flyhalf at the start of the Ireland series. 

But, when he returned from that horrific head knock, he found himself at fullback as Jantjies and Steyn shared the load at flyhalf.

Lambie, on the surface, seems the likeliest option given that his game seems more complete than Jantjies' right now. 

Goal kicking, tactical kicking, defence, distribution, positional awareness ... Lambie has all of those things. 

Time will tell, but with Handre Pollard also back next year, it seems like Steyn may have run his Bok race.

Steyn has played in 66 Tests for the Boks since making his debut in 2009.

South Africa squad versus England, Italy and Wales

Forwards (18)

Willem Alberts, Eben Etzebeth, Lood de Jager, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Jaco Kriel, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Oupa Mohoje, Franco Mostert, Tendai Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, Jannie du Plessis, Jean-Luc du Preez, Roelof Smit, Adriaan Strauss (captain), Pieter-Steph du Toit, Warren Whiteley

Backs (15)

Damian de Allende, Ruan Combrinck, Faf de Klerk, Johan Goosen, Bryan Habana, Elton Jantjies, Jesse Kriel, Patrick Lambie, Lionel Mapoe, Rudy Paige, Sergeal Petersen, JP Pietersen, Willie le Roux, Francois Venter, Piet van Zyl


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