Steyn happy to 'shut up' his critics

Sun, 02 Oct 2016 00:33

REACTION: Veteran flyhalf Morné Steyn said he was happy to finally 'shut up' the critics who are constantly questioning his selection for the Springbok team.

Steyn was also praised by South African coach Allister Coetzee, after he turned match-winner in scoring all the Boks' points in their 18-10 Rugby Championship victory over Australia in Pretoria on Saturday.  

Coetzee also hailed skipper Adriaan Strauss for his performance in a win that ended a three-match losing streak for the Boks.

Hooker Strauss gave his best performance for the Springboks this season, following fierce public and media criticism.

Recalled flyhalf Steyn scored four penalties and two drop-goals as the hosts survived a second-half battering before stretching a 12-10 half-time advantage.

Coetzee said Steyn showed "great character" in front of a near-capacity crowd in the 51,000-seat Loftus Versfeld stadium.

"Morné justified his inclusion," said Coetzee, who axed younger flyhalf Elton Jantjies after a series of below-par performances in the Southern Hemisphere championship.

"Steyn showed this that he is still a Test match player.

"He remains proud to play for the Springboks."

The playmaker, who overtook retired Percy Montgomery as the most prolific Springbok penalty kicker with 149 successes, said he was thrilled to silence critics.

"It is tough coming back from three consecutive losses," he said.

"We have lots of critics and this victory was a great way to shut them up."  

Coetzee said the value of Strauss as a leader and as a hooker was there for all to, after his record improved to four victories in eight Tests since succeeding Heyneke Meyer his year.

Coetzee said the victory over the Wallabies was timely after away losses to Argentina, Australia and world champions New Zealand.

"It was an important win, not only for our confidence, but also our self-belief," he told a post-match media conference.

"I am a very happy man and will never underestimate any Test win. For a team that had their backs to the wall, a win like this means a lot and is a definite confidence booster."

Coetzee said the Springbok defence was a source of pride after the qualifications of the assistant coach responsible for it, Chean Roux, had been questioned by the media.

"Our defence was outstanding," the coach said. "I must give credit to Chean as he worked very hard this week to get everyone on the same page."

Although South Africa failed to score a try for the first time in eight matches this year, Coetzee was not downbeat.

"We were good with the ball in hand, we moved well, but our continuity was not what it should have been," he said.

Leading 10-3 after prop Scott Sio scored his first Test try, Australia conceded a string of late first-half penalties when full-back Israel Folau was sin-binned for a professional foul.

Steyn kicked three for a 12-10 half-time lead and slotted another penalty and a drop goal in the closing minutes to confirm Loftus Versfeld as a hoodoo ground for the Wallabies.

Agence France-Presse

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