Francois Steyn is still not convinced he is a ‘born-and-bred’ fullback, even though Springbok coach Peter de Villiers lauded him for the quality of his performance in South Africa’s 26-21 win over the British and Irish Lions in Durban on Saturday.
Jan de Koning reports that the Bok coach, De Villiers, described Steyn as a “brilliant” player and said he was “born” to be a fullback.
However, Steyn was less enthusiastic.
We’ll have to see about that,” Steyn said, when asked about the coach’s assessment of his game.
“”It will be a while before I’m convinced [I'm born to be a fullback], but we’ll have to wait and see,” he added.
Steyn, who kicked one long-range first-half penalty and missed with two other shots at goal, felt that there was plenty of room for improvement in his game.
The 22-year-old Steyn on Saturday played at fullback for only for the fourth time in his 28th Test – the previous appearance in the No.15 jersey having been against Samoa in 2007. In 10 of his other 24 Tests he played on the wing, both inside and outside centre, as well as flyhalf – not to mention coming off the bench in 14 internationals.
“It was the first time in years that I got a chance o play at fullback again and I enjoyed it,” Steyn said, adding: “But there were still too many poor kicks … I certainly still have a lot to work on.”
Steyn said his job was made so much easier against the Lions by the support he got from his teammates.
“With [wings] JP [Pietersen] and Bryan [Habana] at the back [to support me], even a schoolboy will feel comfortable at No.15,” Steyn said.
“They [Pietersen and Habana] are so good, it is really easy for me. They cover so well, come through well on defence and help me a lot.”
The Bok star felt that the players should take much of the blame for allowing the Lions back into the game – with South Africa leading 26-7 up till the 68th minute, before two late scores brought the Lions back to the brink of victory.
While the coach, De Villiers, admitted it may have been a mistake to bring all the replacements on in a rush, rather than spread them, Steyn said the players should look at themselves.
“It was the team that was on the field, it was our fault for allowing the Lions back into the game,” he said.
He warned that the Springboks will be much better in the second Test in Pretoria this coming Saturday.
“We have a lot to work on in this coming week, to ensure we play better [in the second Test],” Steyn said.
He said some of the more pressing issues include the Boks’ inability in the second half to maintain possession and some rather ordinary out-of-hand kicking.
“We must also play a bit more rugby, because we didn’t play much,” he said, adding: “I think there was one play from which John [Smit] scored and the other try was from a maul.
“We need to focus a bit more on our own game and we know now what the Lions will put on the park.
“You could see min the first half what we wanted to do and how it worked and in the second half we just didn’t stick to that [game plan] and it almost cost us.
“I was, after all, out first game of the year and we won, so we can be happy about that.”Tweet