Ludeke: Steyn deserves a rest
Johannesburg - Bulls coach Frans Ludeke says it is a foreign concept to see star flyhalf Morne Steyn on the bench rather than in the starting line-up.
"I know it is a strange sighting to see Morne on the bench, it is the first time in five years since I've been involved at the Bulls that he is on the bench," Ludeke said ahead of their Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Reds in Brisbane on Saturday.
"But it is also a way to manage his game time."
Steyn's sojourn on the bench was part of nine changes to the starting line-up following their 41-19 defeat to the Crusaders last week.
The flyhalf's time-out on the bench opens a window of opportunity for his understudy Louis Fouche to shine.
"It was one of the things we said before the season, that we wanted to manage the players better because it is a long season," Ludeke said during the week.
"We all know what Louis can do, and he's been playing for us over the last two seasons, and we are confident to give him the jersey to start this weekend and do a good job for us."
Rugby pundits might feel the improved management of the country's and the Bulls' prolific goal kicker is long overdue.
Since his meteoric rise to fame in 2009, when he made his debut for the Springboks against the British and Irish Lions, Steyn was the go-to-man for both club and country.
Steyn, however, received a long overdue rest for his country in last year's Castle Rugby Championship only after a drop in form.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer at the time offered Steyn's workload over the past years as the reason for replacing him.
"Morne (Steyn), in the last four seasons, has played close to 140 matches at Test, Vodacom Super Rugby and Absa Currie Cup level and probably deserves a break," Meyer said ahead of the Springbok Test against Australia at Loftus Versfeld last year September.
The break in national duties had clearly done the player a world of good as he displayed the same qualities in this year's Super Rugby which earned him his first start for the Springboks.
Meanwhile, Ludeke said his charges needed to make a step-up from last week's disjointed performance against the Crusaders if they wanted to beat the Reds.
"We didn’t play well last week. We were off our game and we went up [against] a very good side, but we’ve put that behind us and are keen to take the step up this weekend and put a good 80 minutes together," Ludeke said.