Steyn set for first Bok start since 2012?

Frans Steyn (Gallo)
Frans Steyn (Gallo)

Cape Town - Frans Steyn could start a Test match for the first time since 2012 when the Springboks take on Japan in Kumagaya on September 6. 

That was the word from Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus on Thursday in what was his final press briefing before Friday's departure to Japan and the Rugby World Cup. 

While Erasmus is largely settled in terms of South Africa's starting XV for their September 21 World Cup opener against the All Blacks in Yokohama, he wants to use the Japan match as an opportunity to tick a few boxes before the tournament begins. 

Steyn has played in all four Springbok Tests in 2019, but has come off the bench each time. 

Captain Siya Kolisi, meanwhile, got through around 50 minutes in the August 17 clash against Argentina at Loftus as he made his comeback from a serious knee injury. 

Getting him through 80 minutes against Japan is also something Erasmus would like to achieve. 

"There are a few things we want to do before the game against the All Blacks," Erasmus was quoted as saying on Netwerk24

"The first is to get Siya 100% match ready and get him through 80 minutes.

"Then there are other guys like Frans Steyn, who we have brought back into the system, who we would also like to get through 80 minutes if we can."

While Steyn's versatility means that he can cover numerous positions in the backline, a start would likely see him take on the No 12 jersey. 

That is where he played the last time he started for the Boks against the All Blacks in a 21-11 loss in Dunedin in 2012, and it is where he has been slotting in when coming off the bench this year. 

Erasmus added that the Japan game would serve as a final opportunity for the Boks to work on tactical elements like set piece, while he had earlier pointed to the benefits of playing the tournament hosts in front of their own vocal home crowd as an opportunity to get used to Japanese conditions. 

The Boks will be the first of the visiting nations to arrive in Japan, and their clash on September 6 will be their first against the Brave Blossoms since the famous loss they suffered in Brighton during the 2015 World Cup.

- Compiled by Lloyd Burnard

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