British & Irish Lions

Morne Steyn's 'consistency' saw him crack Springbok nod over Curwin Bosch

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Morne Steyn (Gallo)
Morne Steyn (Gallo)

Whichever way you look at it, one of the the major talking points to emerge from Saturday's Springbok squad announcement for the upcoming Test series against the British & Irish Lions was the recall of flyhalf Morne Steyn

The last of the 36-year-old's 66 Test matches came on 8 October, 2016. 

On that day in Durban, Steyn kicked all of his side's 15 points - he has 736 in total - in a disastrous 57-15 loss to the All Blacks in a Rugby Championship clash under then-coach Allister Coetzee. 

That, it appeared, was the end of the road in the green and gold for Steyn and he was not picked again as Coetzee backed Elton Jantjies and Handre Pollard for the rest of his troubled tenure. 

But, since is return to South African domestic rugby and the Bulls from Stade Francais in 2020, Steyn has reminded of his quality and pedigree. 

With both Pollard and Jantjies playing out of France presently, Steyn has been comfortably South Africa's most in-form flyhalf - within these borders, anyway. 

Since rejoining the Bulls, the Bok veteran has extinguished any notions that he is simply a boot-heavy metronome. 

Steyn's kicking game - out of hand and off the tee - remains his strength. Of that, there is no doubt.

But, in the twilight of his career, Steyn has also shown a maturity in game management that has manifested in silky, mature and intelligent distribution that has been unrivaled by any of his pivot peers in these parts. 

With Pollard and Jantjies both picked, Steyn's almost inevitable inclusion meant that 23-year-old Curwin Bosch missed out. 

It will be a tough pill to swallow for the Sharks playmaker, who has come on in leaps and bounds himself over the last 18 months. 

The Sharks, like the Bulls, have been moving in the right direction and that is in no small part down to Bosch's impact. 

In attempting to explain the thinking behind the selection on Saturday, Springbok head coach Jacque Nienaber suggested that it was Steyn's consistency that ultimately saw him included. 

"The big thing we were looking for there was consistency," said Nienaber.

"If you look at the most consistent flyhalf after Covid-19 in South Africa, it was probably Morne, not to take anything away from Curwin."

Nienaber added that he saw a bright South African future for Bosch.

"His [Bosch's] X-factor is phenomenal and he can win games for you out of nothing," Nienaber said. 

"He's only 23 and as he grows a little bit older and plays more big games - Currie Cup finals like he did this year - he will probably get more consistent.

"I can see him playing a lot of Test matches for South Africa."

The first Test between the Boks and the British & Irish Lions takes place at Cape Town Stadium on 24 July. 

Springbok squad:  

Forwards

Thomas du Toit, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Frans Malherbe, Ox Nche, Trevor Nyakane, Coenie Oosthuizen, Joseph Dweba, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Scarra Ntubeni, Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, Franco Mostert, Marvin Orie, RG Snyman, Dan du Preez, Jean-Luc du Preez, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Rynhardt Elstadt, Siya Kolisi, Kwagga Smith, Marco van Staden, Duane Vermeulen, Jasper Wiese

Backs

Faf de Klerk, Herschel Jantjies, Sanele Nohamba, Cobus Reinach, Elton Jantjies, Handre Pollard, Morne Steyn, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Jesse Kriel, Wandisile Simelane, Frans Steyn, Aphelele Fassi, Cheslin Kolbe, Willie le Roux, Makazole Mapimpi, Sbu Nkosi, Yaw Penxe, Rosko Specman, Damian Willemse 

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