Rainbow Cup

Morne Steyn, on Springbok radar again, shows tactical class in Bulls win

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Morne Steyn (Gallo)
Morne Steyn (Gallo)
  • Bulls flyhalf Morne Steyn gave another classy performance against the Stormers in Cape Town on Saturday. 
  • Steyn (36) has ben involved in Springbok alignment camps with the British & Irish Lions tour in mind. 
  • Bulls coach Jake White praised Steyn's tactical awareness on Saturday. 

The Bulls defence was heroic at times and a major factor in their 20-16 Rainbow Cup win over the Stormers in Cape Town on Saturday. 

Especially in the second half, the hosts attacked in waves, looking to break down the Bulls wall. 

Instead, the Stormers could score just one try in 80 minutes and the Bulls defence, rightly, was lauded after the match. 

Another key factor in the win, however, came in the form of another classy, yet understated performance from 36-year-old flyhalf Morne Steyn. 

Abner van Reenen, Steyn's opposite number, struggled throughout the evening where his kicking out of hand and decision making were found wanting on numerous occasions. 

As Stormers coach John Dobson said after the match, it was important not to be too harsh on Van Reenen given his inexperience at this level, but the difference in pedigree between the two playmakers was undeniably a major contributor to the final result on Saturday. 

Despite having missed an early penalty that one would almost always expect him to kick, Steyn commanded proceedings superbly as the match went on. 

He set up a try for wing Madosh Tambwe with an inch-perfect cross kick just before half-time - he had already done it earlier, too, only for Tambwe to drop the ball with the try line beckoning - but as the Bulls took the lead, it was Steyn's command of space and territorial dominance that began to shine through. 

"Morne has been a stalwart of this team. He is now in alignment camps with the national set-up," said White after the contest.

"He is obviously enjoying the fact that he's still being earmarked as a national player.

"I think it's important for him to get some game time."

The last of Steyn's 66 Springbok Tests came in 2016 when, under Allister Coetzee, the South Africans were hammered 57-15 in Durban. 

For a player of Steyn's class, that is not a fitting way to exit the international stage, but with the likes of Handre Pollard and Elton Jantjies thriving, there has not been a need for the current Bok brains trust to look elsewhere. 

Pollard's serious knee injury this season, even though he has now recovered, coupled with Steyn's return to South Africa and consistent form with the Bulls might have contributed towards his call-up to last month's alignment camp. 

Whether he features against the British and Irish Lions remains to be seen, but it is clear that Steyn still has plenty to offer South African rugby and he is showing no signs of slowing down just yet.   

"He was very tactically astute about how we wanted to play this weekend," White added.

"We played a bit differently to how we've been playing in the past because we felt there was one way in which we could suffocate the Stormers attack.

"The Stormers defend in a certain way where they leave space on the outside and when Morne kicked those balls across they were always pin-point.

"It wasn't only that, it was the way that he kept the Stormers staying in their half which is always important.

"We've got two relatively inexperienced scrumhalves in Embrose [Papier] who is still coming through and Zak [Burger], so to have Morne's experience, seniority and direction in the game was vital.

"He had a great game and it's good for his confidence."

The Bulls will now turn their attention to a top-of-the-table clash against the Sharks at Loftus on Saturday.

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