Bulls flyhalf Morne Steyn, is relishing the chance to emerge from the shadow of Loftus darling Derick Hougaard.
For the past five years, Steyn has played second fiddle to the man known as “Liefling” by the Pretoria faithful. He’s done it with good grace, and always performed in Hougaard’s occasional absence.
But since the Springbok moved to English club Leicester, the most important job in Bulls rugby has fallen to Steyn full-time — and he’s delivered .
Last year, he must have come close to selection for the Bok tour. This year, he finally is first choice for the Super 14 on a weekly basis.
The popular perception is that the Springbok selectors have already settled on a team to face the British Lions, but Steyn suspects that he could push for selection .
With Ruan Pienaar likely to play at scrumhalf in the Super 14 and Butch James in England , there is a slight gap for another flyhalf to slip through. And Steyn wants to be that man.
“My confidence has grown knowing that I’m the first choice and that I will play most of the games during the Super 14,” Steyn told The Times’ Craig Ray.
“I’m very relaxed and I’m looking forward to it because I know I won’t be on the bench most of the time. To gain confidence you have to play regularly, and I’m finally getting that chance .”
In 1997 the Boks lost to the British Lions because they did not have a consistent goal kicker . With the international retirement of Percy Montgomery, the kicking has fallen to James and Pienaar.
With James possibly out of the reckoning and Pienaar’s kicking erratic, the Boks could fall into the same trap . Steyn could help them avoid it.
Lions coach Ian McGeechan talked up Pienaar’s credentials as Bok flyhalf, possibly knowing that his iffy goal kicking could play into the touring team’s hands.
“I was impressed with the Boks’ whole approach in the November internationals last year and I can’t see that being changed,” McGeechan said about a possible South African goal kicking weakness.
Barring injury, Steyn has four months to prove himself a viable option for the Boks.
“If I can keep playing like I did in the Currie Cup and improving on that, I believe I can push for the Springbok No10 jersey,” Steyn said.
“There is tough competition from Ruan, Andre Pretorius and others, but I think I can do it.”Tweet