Vodacom Super 14

Smith: Deny Steyn opportunity

2010-02-04 22:40
Morne Steyn (Gallo Images)
Jóhann Thormählen

Bloemfontein – Cheetahs captain Juan Smith believes they can neutralise the danger of his Springbok team-mate Morné Steyn by denying him penalty opportunities in their opening Super14 match against the Bulls.

“You have to concede as few penalties as possible against Morné. You have to try and play the rugby in their half as Morné will hurt you with three points from anywhere within your half,” said Smith.

The Cheetah captain was part of the Bok team when Steyn clinched the series against the British and Irish Lions with a penalty for South Africa at Loftus Versfeld last year.

Apart from his success for the Springboks, Steyn’s accurate kicking also played a big part in the Bulls’ success in last year’s Super14 campaign.

He was the leading point-scorer with a total of 191 at the end of the series and succeeded with a remarkable 11 drop goals.

His goal-kicking was also good in last Saturday’s warm-up game against the Lions.

Smith believes it’s of the utmost importance for the Cheetahs to start the Super14 well.

That makes it all the more important for Steyn to be kept in check.

“It’s a long season awaiting us, but a good start makes it feel shorter,” he said.

Referee Jonathan Kaplan’s approach at the breakdowns and how the Cheetahs’ play at the breakdown will also help determine how many opportunities Steyn gets.

Referees will be very strict on the tackler at the breakdown.

Smith believes the Cheetahs have a herculean task ahead of them in their first game, but adds that he and his team-mates would not have it any other way.

“We could not have asked for a bigger challenge at the start of the tournament. To play against the Super14 champions first up is huge.”

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