The Chiefs have devised a special plan to counter Bulls flyhalf Morné Steyn’s prodigious kicking boot, when the two teams meet in the Super 14 Final in Pretoria on Saturday.
Steyn, the form flyhalf in South Africa this year, is not just the competition’s leading points scorer, it is his ability to land drop-goals at will that is causing a few nightmares in the opposing camp.
In fact Steyn, who collected 21 points in helping the Bulls dismantle the seven-time champion Crusaders in the semifinal last week, has kicked 10 drop-goals this season – four of them in the semifinal.
Jan de Koning writes for Rugby 365 reports that Chiefs assistant coach Craig Stevenson, speaking to the media in a teleconference from the team’s base in Pretoria, said the they will shift their focus away from Steyn and onto those players who supply him with a steady stream of possession.
“Obviously Morné [Steyn] is a very good player and he kicks the ball a long way, especially at altitude,” Stevenson said.
“They do have a very, very good kicking game and we are going to have to close it down.”
However, he feels the best way to prevent the points to flow from Steyn’s boot is to target his teammate and Springbok scrumhalf Fourie du Preez – who has been sublime in the service he has provided to his flyhalf this year.
“We have to make sure we put pressure on his scrumhalf [Du Preez] and once again they have a very, very good No.9,” Stevenson said.
He added that also need to ensure that the quality of possession that reaches Du Preez is not very good.
“As a forward pack, we need to put pressure on to disrupt their ball and try to slow it down and make it untidy. Then we can get pressure on their kickers.”
The Chiefs are also ready to launch a few drop-goals of their own, having seen how valuable those can be in accumulating points in tight play-off games.
“[Flyhalf] Stephen Donald has been practicing the odd one, and so has Callum [Bruce],” Stevenson said.
“As a team, we have decided that if the opportunity is there [to land a drop-goal], we have to have a crack.
“As you saw last week [against the Hurricanes] we had a crack, but it was charged down.
“It is part of our game plan, that if we get into that territory, to have a drop-kick. However, we will be looking to score some tries as well.”
The other aspect of Steyn’s ability with the boot is the fact that he can land penalties from a very long way out and Stevenson made it clear that discipline will also play a huge role on Saturday.
“It is very important that our discipline is huge, because at altitude people can kick goals pretty much anywhere in our half,” the assistant coach said, adding: “In finals they [penalties] really cost games.
“It can come down to a drop-goal or a penalty [to win the Final], so we have to make sure that our discipline inside our own half is good, because they’re a team that will have a shot anywhere inside our half.
“It is very important that our discipline is very good this week.”
The Chiefs also feel they can match the Bulls in the forward exchanges and set themselves up for their first Super Rugby crown.
Stevenson said the Chiefs forwards took great heart from their effort against the Bulls in Pretoria last month, a game they lost 27-33.
“We know we can scrum well against them, our line-out worked well, and we just need to make sure we shut down their momentum.
“Our loose forwards have been defending really well off our set piece and our props have been getting in to help there too.
“We know we are up against a huge challenge against a huge forward pack.
“But we only have 80 minutes of rugby left and we are looking forward to that challenge.”Tweet