The perfect 10 is what the Cheetahs and the Blue Bulls are hoping for ahead of their Currie Cup semifinal in Pretoria on Saturday.
Flyhalves Jacques-Louis Potgieter and Morné Steyn are likely to have a major influence on the result of the match at Loftus Versfeld.
But while the Free State coaches and supporters still have their fingers crossed to see whether Potgieter will be fit, the Bulls expect Steyn to succeed with at least 80 per cent of his goal kicks.
Pieter Jordaan and Morris Gilbert write in Volksblad that Potgieter and Cheetahs lineout specialist David de Villiers were unable to train on Monday. It is unlikely that Potgieter’s hand injury will keep him out of the match but it could be touch and go for De Villiers, who has ankle trouble.
Excellent performances in his two most recent matches have made Potgieter a key player for the champions, who have struggled to fill Willem de Waal’s No 10 jersey.
De Waal, known as The General, played an important role in the team’s success since 2005, but thanks to Chris Rossouw and Potgieter the Cheetahs are back in the playoffs.
Injury has robbed the Cheetahs of Rossouw’s services. Therefore much depends on Potgieter’s fitness and form on Saturday.
Hit the woodwork
Potgieter was a member of the Blue Bulls squad before he moved to Bloemfontein to enjoy more action at this level.
The Bulls now have Steyn at No 10, and the team’s kicking coach, Vlok Cilliers, wants him to improve his success ratio from 71.59 per cent so far this season to the “distinction level” of 80 per cent.
Cilliers believes Steyn is a better kicker than his statistics show. “One must take into consideration that about seven or eight of his unsuccessful kicks hit the woodwork,” says Cilliers.
“And whether it is coincidence or not, he seems to produce his best kicking when he plays against the Cheetahs.”
Steyn, a product of the Sand du Plessis High School in Bloemfontein, landed five of his six kicks at goal in a recent match against the Cheetahs in his old hometown.
“He is mentally strong and one of our players who can handle the big moments,” Cilliers said.
In the 2006 Currie Cup final, Steyn goaled a conversion from the touchline to level the scores and send the match into extra time. The Cheetahs and the Bulls shared the Currie Cup that year.
Statistician Eddie Grieb said on Monday Steyn had succeeded with 63 of his 88 kicks at goal for the Bulls this season. His off day was when he missed five out of seven against the Sharks.
The Bulls flyhalf has scored 167 points in Currie Cup rugby this year, including two tries. He goaled 35 conversions, 28 penalties and two dropkicks.
Potgieter, on the other hand, has taken only 20 kicks at goal in Currie Cup rugby this season. But he hit the 80% mark by landing 16 of them.Tweet