Steyn unaware of records

2009-08-03 00:00

MORNÉ Steyn scored all 31 points, broke a string of records, was named Man-of-the-Match and kicked the All Blacks into oblivion, but the Springbok flyhalf said he was “cross” when the final whistle blew at King’s Park on Saturday night.

The Springboks dumped the All Blacks for the second time on successive Saturdays as Steyn kicked eight penalties and converted his own try for their 31-19 win.

But, he told The Witness later, he blamed himself for missing the last kick of the match.

The Springboks were ahead by 12 points and the final hooter was waiting on his kick as he lined up a relatively easy penalty 40metres out and in front of the All Black posts.

“I think I lost focus,” he said,“because I knew the game was over. I didn’t stick to the basics and pushed the ball wide. I was really cross about that. I wanted to get 10 from 10.”

Instead it was nine from 10 attempts (eight penalties and a conversion), the most points scored by an individual against the All Blacks and beating Andrew Mehrtens’s 10-year-old record of 29 points against Australia for the highest tally in a Tri-Nations international.

Steyn said he was totally unaware that any records had been broken or were at stake.

“It was only when I came off and was made the Man-of-the-Match that I heard about the records. But, hell, hey I couldn’t have done that without the Bok pack; if our forwards from one to eight had not stood up so strongly.”

Steyn said that his success was built on hard work off the field and remaining calm on it.

“I work hard during the week and kick about 300 place-kicks in preparation. I do get butterflies before the game, but on the field I just try and keep calm and stick to what I have been working on during the week.”

Steyn said that he was never worried when the All Blacks briefly took the lead or threatened midway through the second half.

“Their points were coming against the run of play and we knew we just had to stick to our plan.”

Steyn scored the Boks’ only try when he stepped inside and ran through a yawning gap to score just before half-time. He gave credit for his try to his Bulls partner and scrumhalf Fourie du Preez.

“When he snatched the ball from that All Black scrum, I thought ‘he’s going to score’, but he then passed to me and you could have driven a bus through that gap.”

Steyn, along with Du Preez and Francois Steyn, dominated the game with their superbly-placed up-and-unders bothering the shaky All Blacks all night. The Bok chase, usually led by Bryan Habana, JP Pietersen, Frans Steyn and the excellent Jaque Fourie, panicked the All Black defenders and forced them into a string of errors.

In short, Morné Steyn had just about the perfect night.

“Yes, it has been a dream season,” said the flyhalf, who played a major role in the Bulls winning the Super14 and the Boks taking the series against the British Lions.

“I couldn’t ask for more, but I must keep my feet on the ground and work harder on my defence and my attacking game.”

Bok captain John Smit praised his flyhalf for his ability to convert the pressure into points by kicking the penalties. But he also called for calm.

“Morné’s still young and a wonderful asset, and so composed under pressure. I would just be careful of heaping pressure on him now. He’s a talented footballer and he needs to be allowed to grow.”

Fullback Frans Steyn praised his flyhalf for kicking the points “just when we needed them” and Sharks prop Beast Mtawarira said his accuracy with the boot was a major boost for the team.

“When you work so hard up front, and get the rewards in the form of penalties, it galvanises the big boys because they know their efforts are paying off,” said the Beast.

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