Steyn in peak form but club limits may see him benched

2014-06-20 00:00

MBOMBELA — There is a reason why points kicker Morné Steyn is in brilliant form at the moment — the bench at Stade Francais.

While playing for the French club, Steyn sat through several matches on the bench while Jules Plisson wore the number 10 jersey.

But Steyn reassured the fans this was not because there was anything wrong: “Obviously I want to play in every match and it is not so nice to sit among the replacements.

“But I think it benefited me not to play in all the matches,” Steyn said.

After the hard slog of the Super Rugby series, the Stade Francais bench enabled him to recoup and recover to be at his peak against Wales in Durban, displaying stunning versatile play compared to the not always positive perceptions about him.

Apart from getting six out of six kicks his tactical overheads kept Wales’ big backline on the back foot and his ball distribution was excellent.

As for making contact, Steyn was visibly keen to make his tackles count and he even forced a penalty on Wales by chasing a ball down. When Steyn speaks, this former Bulls is always calm and he displayed the same calm when he was asked about getting relatively little game time at Stade Francais.

“I want to play in every Test and you ­always ask yourself if you are playing enough matches so that the Bok coach can select you. But it was a good thing for me to take a break,” Steyn said.

The 29-year-old has recorded 649 Test points to date and his peak form could not have come at a better time for the Boks.

Pat Lambie and Johan Goosen are injured, Frans Steyn has withdrawn and the young contenders Marnitz Boshoff and Handré Pollard do not have any Test experience yet. Steyn was however quick to praise the maturity and leadership of the other Bok rookie Jan Serfontein (21) after Saturday’s match. For the Test against Scotland, Steyn may get more bench time because the Bok players who play for French clubs may reportedly not play more than three Tests in June.

This includes Steyn, Bryan Habana, Wynand Olivier, Gurthrö Steenkamp and Bakkies Botha.

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