Steyn to show his real class
The Bulls have rallied around out-of-form Bok flyhalf Morné Steyn, whom they believe will soon show his 'true class'.
The Blue Bulls have rallied around out-of-form Springbok flyhalf Morné Steyn, whom they believe will soon show his 'true class'.
Steyn, who was axed from the Bok matchday 22 after a number of below par performance in the Test arena, rejoined the Bulls on Monday ahead of their final Currie Cup league fixture.
With Johan Goosen having been ruled out for the next six months, following surgery to repair a grade three medial tear in his knee, Steyn is again one of the frontline candidates to wear the No.10 jersey on the Boks' year-end tour. He will be closely scrutinised, along with other candidates like Elton Jantjies (Golden Lions) and Pat Lambie (Sharks).
Apart from Steyn, Zane Kirchner, Francois Hougaard, Flip van der Merwe, Jacques Potgieter, Arno Botha, Juandré Kruger and Jacques Potgieter also rejoined their Bulls teammates on Monday.
Bulls coach Pine Pienaar was adamant that it will always be about the team and not individuals, but the spotlight keeps returning to Steyn - who till this year was regarded as a certainty to start in the Bok No.10 jersey after his numerous record-breaking, match-winning performances since his Test debut in 2009.
While Pienaar made a manful attempt to shift the focus away from the flyhalf to the team, all indications are that special attention is being paid to Steyn this week.
The Bok flyhalf's personal kicking coach, Vlok Cilliers, made it clear they are working with the 41-Test veteran.
"Good kicking session with @mornesteyn today," Cilliers said on the social network Twitter after Monday's outing.
"Nice to have him back and to work with him again, important week for us and our campaign in Ccup," Cilliers added.
Some questions have been raised about Steyn's sudden slump at international level, where he's gone from an 80 percent goal-kicker to a player who struggles to succeed with 50 percent of his kicks on a 'good' day.
Seeing Steyn produce a meagre 20 percent strike rate raised questions about the Boks' backroom staff and what influence they may have had over the sharp-shooter.
Pienaar was certainly not keen to elaborate on the subject, but was full of praise for the 28-year-old flyhalf.
"I want to emphasise, for us it is about the team ... not the individuals," the Bulls coach told this website in an interview.
"Morné is a world class player, he has shown repeatedly what qualities he has.
"He is returning from a difficult period in the Bok team - the same goes for the other players who come back from the Boks ... they are hoping to get the taste of victory again.
"A player like Morné is eager to play and to do well - whether he will start or play off the bench, I am looking forward to see what he can produce on Saturday."
Pienaar said all the player that returned to training on Monday, after a stint with the national team, will feature in the matchday 22 against the Golden Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday.
However, not all of them will start.
"The most important factor is that they are all very eager to play and that makes it easy," Pienaar told this website, when asked how he will manage the rush of players returning from national duty.
"They are determined to come in and make a difference.
"All of them will be in the [matchday] 22, we just have to decide on the combinations [for this weekend's match against the Lions].
"However, for me it is about the team and not the individuals.
"As I've said, they made it clear they want to make a difference and it is a great situation to be in."
By Jan de Koning