Frans Steyn admits that his first Test match at flyhalf was not a success story.
The versatile Springbok scored the first try of the Newlands match against Italy on Saturday after a touch of individual brilliance that set the rugby World Cup champions up for a 26-0 victory, writes Stephen Nell on www.news24.com.
Steyn also gained much ground with his touch-finders in the wet conditions but was unable to dictate the run of play and to bring the players around him into the game. He also had two of his kicks charged down.
His performance created doubt about his ability to be a Test flyhalf, although he probably needs more than one chance to show what he can do.
“I struggled in the second half,” the young Springbok said after the match. “I lost concentration. I still have to work on a number of things.”
He acknowledged that he had also failed to find touch with “one or two” penalty kicks.
“If you want to be the best you have to do everything one hundred per cent correctly,” he said. “I’m going to be hard on myself and work harder.
“I’m not happy with all the decisions I made but I’m only 21, so there’s a lot of time to learn.”
The conditions did not make things any easier for Steyn and his mates, but he refused to use it as an excuse.
“The first half was not so bad but it rained hard when we came out after half-time. But when you play for the Springboks, you must adapt to all circumstances. You can’t use the weather as an excuse.”
However, Steyn also showed, in the way he picked up the ball at full speed to score his try, with the length of his kicks and a splendid pass in contact, why he is regarded as a remarkable talent.
The problem is that no player can develop in a relatively new position at Test level. That should be done in provincial and Super 14 rugby.
Steyn, who had played at fullback, centre and wing for the Springboks, was hesitant when he was questioned about his move to flyhalf. He even indicated that there had been a “misunderstanding” about him wanting to play at flyhalf only.
“The coach and I had a chat and we decided it would be better for me in the long run to play at flyhalf. We’ll see how it goes and take it from there.”
Peter Grant showed determination in attacking the advantage line when he took over at flyhalf during the second half and also showed more confidence in linking up with the players around him.
South Africa’s scrumming also caused concern so soon before the start of the Tri-Nations competition.
Loosehead prop Tendai Mtawarira may be known as “The Beast” but he has a long way to go before his name will be mentioned in the same breath as that of his legendary predecessor, Os du Randt.
Mtawarira had a ball in broken play but battled to get the better of the experienced Italian tighthead prop Carlos Nieto.
Italy did not even have their first-choice front row available for the match but did well enough to back up coach Nick Mallett who had said they had ten props who were good enough to play for Australia.
“We intended attacking their scrum but they were strong on their own ball,” Mtawarira said.
“Italy’s onslaught did not surprise us. We knew they would come hard at us. We certainly want to improve as a pack,” he said.
“We also wanted to carry the ball but conditions were poor. We had to drive more and play tighter than we had intended.”Tweet