Meyer drops Steyn ahead of Aussie clash

2012-09-26 16:58

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer is not one to make a habit of bowing to pressure.

But dropping Bulls flyhalf Morne Steyn for the Loftus Versfeld clash against Australia on Saturday seemed like caving in as Steyn has not been able to repay the faith Meyer has put in him.

Meyer said Steyn accepted the decision in good faith and has not been cast aside completely.

“There has been a lot of pressure on Morne and he had chances,” the mentor said.

“It was in the best interests of the team and Morne and he is a tough guy. You don’t have to feel sorry for him. It also shows that there is no favouritism. We will always try to put the best players out there and I feel it is the right thing for him. He has played a lot of rugby and he is a true professional.”

Steyn’s exclusion paves the way for the prodigious Johan Goosen to make his first Springbok start as one of three changes from the side that lost 21-11 to New Zealand in Dunedin three weeks ago.

Lions utility player Jaco Taute could be in line to make his Bok debut should incumbent inside centre Frans Steyn fail a late fitness test scheduled for Friday.

His team mate, Elton Jantjies, could also make his debut off the bench.

Juandre Kruger, who has been replaced by Andries Bekker, and his suspended Bulls team mate, Dean Greyling, will miss their homecoming Test.

Eben Etzebeth also makes a return to the number four slot after a two-week suspension.

Meyer dearly wanted to have Frans Steyn’s physical presence in a very busy channel, but said that he could not risk having two

Test greenhorns lined up next to each other.

“We were positive about Steyn’s progress this morning ... but today he hurt it again,” Meyer said.

“I don’t want to play a guy who is not 100%. I have got confidence in the other guys as well. There are a lot of youngsters in the backline and that works well for the future.”

Another albatross hanging around Meyer’s neck was the issue regarding Jantjies.

The Lions pivot had to sit and watch Morne Steyn fluff his lines repeatedly in the third Test against England in Port Elizabeth as the Boks stuttered to a 14-all draw. Meyer was at pains to explain how he would utilise Jantjies.

“It is easy to sit back after the game and say that maybe I should have done this and that,” he said.

“I wanted to put Morne on the bench because I know what he can do ... When you play the best teams in the world, it’s not about giving chances, the player who comes on has to make a difference. We know what Elton can bring with his kicking game.”

» Teams
South Africa:
15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jean de Villiers (captain), 12 Francois Steyn/Jaco Taute, 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Beast Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Marcell Coetzee, 20 Elton Jantjies, 21 Jaco Taute/Juan de Jongh, 22 Patrick Lambie

Australia:

To be announced

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