Morné is still the man

April 14, 2014
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Springboks and Emerging Boks team annoucement

Ryan Vrede from SA Rugby Magazine believes  No South Africa-based flyhalf has done enough to unseat Morné Steyn with the Springboks.

This is his views…..

On the evidence presented thus far, Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer is thin on in-form options at flyhalf, and even with a couple of months to go before their first Test he wouldn’t have thought far beyond Steyn as his pivot.

Meyer had hoped this would be the season some of his younger options in the position would show refinement. He is acutely aware of the importance of having a plan beyond Steyn and is actively seeking one. Those plans, however, appear to have stalled, albeit temporarily. 

Pat Lambie was developing well under Jake White’s tutelage at the Sharks until a bicep injury ruled him out of action for six months. Lambie’s game management and decision-making under pressure was impressive, while his goal and tactical kicking was showing the required consistency. He has thrived behind a strong pack, while his partnership with Frans Steyn at inside centre was growing into what White it envisioned it could be. These points are crucial because the bulk of the Springbok pack will come from the Sharks and Steyn is certain to start at inside centre.  

Lambie fronted well in the position on the 2012 year-end tour but didn’t do enough to earn Meyer’s trust for the 2013 Test season. Being based in South Africa gave him an edge in selection over Morné Steyn for the season ahead, but that is now a non-issue, given his injury. 

Elsewhere, I suspect Meyer will be most disappointed in the development of Johan Goosen, a player he has high hopes for. Meyer, remember, wasted no time in thrusting him into an away game against the All Black in 2012, then backing him to start in the home Tests against the Wallabies and All Blacks. Goosen was Meyer’s preferred flyhalf for the 2013 season before injury eliminated him from consideration and my understanding is that Meyer continues to believe he is the long-term answer in the position.

Goosen, however, has done little to advance his cause. He has offered a series of average or poor performances for the Cheetahs, with only glimpses of his game-breaking potential to remind of his exceptional talent. Meyer may see this as being a product of his environment insomuch as the Cheetahs have been desperately poor in most facets of play. But class endures even in difficult conditions, as evidenced by the performances of Goosen’s team-mate Willie le Roux. If Goosen stays fit he will be in the Springbok squad for the mid-year Tests and Meyer will feel strongly that he can get the 22-year-old playing at a level he needs him to. This, however, is not the ideal situation.

Of the other flyhalves I don’t think any warrant more than a passing mention. Yes, even Marnitz Boshoff. The Lions No 10 was celebrated after starting the competition strongly, but good games against the Stormers and Cheetahs (among the tournament’s weakest teams) is hardly the standard by which he should be measured in a Springboks context. He has been a non-factor against strong opposition, which really tells you all you need to know about any potential international career. Boshoff has kept Elton Jantjies on the wood, which is where the level of his talent demands he stay, while going north from Ellis Park, the Bulls have, for the first time in nearly a decade in this tournament, flyhalves who aren’t in the Springbok frame. I won’t waste your time debating the merits of what the Stormers offer in this regard. 

Morné Steyn’s Parisian sojourn was risky as he would have been aware of how it could compromise his Test career. He has struggled in a mediocre Stade Français side (they are placed eighth after 24 matches), unable to impose himself on matches through his excellent goal and tactical kicking. Yet he has every right to feel confident that he will remain the Springboks incumbent for the mid-year Tests. Beyond that Meyer is unlikely to experiment at flyhalf in the Rugby Championship. 

An argument can be made for Frans Steyn filling the position but Meyer has decided he is best deployed at inside centre and will only use him there in an absolute emergency. Morné is the man to steer the ship and nothing offered from local flyhalves suggests that will change.

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17 Comments

  1. avatar Aldo says:
    April 14th, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    Well cant say his wrong. Not one flyhalf in SA has been good enough to be considered by Meyer, bar maybe Boshoff. Wonder if he’ll get a look in. Might just get lucky.

    If Handre Pollard maybe gets a start in the second half of superrugby, who knows. He might just impress.

  2. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    April 14th, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    @Aldo: Boshoff must be in the group so that Morne can help the dude, I really like Frans at 10 but that is just me.

  3. avatar Boertjie says:
    April 14th, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    I hear a bird whistling HM wants to
    see more of Pollard.

  4. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    April 14th, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    @Boertjie: He kick like shit and his game is average…..had one great break last weekend and that is that concerning him…..even Grant is better than him and he is shit….maybe all the who-ha made of Pollard went to his head….

  5. avatar Boertjie says:
    April 14th, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    BTW is Marcel Coetzee playing very well?
    Like the form that made him a Bok?

    I believe there is some worry about the
    fitness of Flo Louw and we all know Schalk
    has become a walking injury.

  6. avatar Boertjie says:
    April 14th, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    Oh well, Bunny, HM may have to revert
    to Tina Steyn then. Can’t see the Boks
    playing without him. Maybe 15, where Le Roux
    is losing some of his shine?
    It seems Willie always blame the other players
    if they can’t get hold of a shit pass. One of
    them lead to a try by the Saders right at the
    end.

  7. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    April 14th, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    @Boertjie: Yip Americano will not like this talk but Willie is playing shit rugby but then again how much does the Cheetahs depend on him to give the spark….a case of waiting for him to start something….

    But on current form even Mvovo is better than Willie at 15

  8. avatar Aldo says:
    April 14th, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    Willie is playing really well in a poor team bunny.

    As for steyn at 10, I think not. If Pollard gets given enough time, he will shine, but he barely gets any gametime. How should he impress? I know Heyneke is looking to Pollard as a future option, but that is a distant future if he gets gametime under his belt.

  9. avatar Aldo says:
    April 14th, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    When I said Steyn at 10, I think not, I meant Tina not Morne. Frans is a great 12, where he played in the 2007 world cup and if it wasnt for medling fool coaches, he should’ve been playing ever since. Leave him be at 12

  10. avatar Cheetah Glory says:
    April 14th, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    Player for player Boshof is the closest we have to Steyn. If HM wants to replace like with like then surely Boshof will be the man. I personally like both and would have no qualms should they be the preferred candidates for 2015.

    Our troubles are at 9, 12 and 13.

    The perfect centre combo in the world right no is Giteau and Bastereaud for Toulon. Its very much the Muir/Snyman combo with stocky playmaker type 12 and a monster 13.

    Our best 12 (Ebersohn) has never been rated and I am sorry to say but JJ is just a Spies in a 13 jumper. All muscles but no substance or intel.

    Can Sithole step up? Id like to see him get a chance this winter. So too Boshof. At 9 we are better off just sticing with Pienaar/FdP combo as their experience in a WC cancels out whatever form they might be lacking.

  11. avatar Americano says:
    April 15th, 2014 at 1:09 am

    Guys,
    The Messerschmitt took up the cross that is his involvement with the Cheetahs in current dreadful form for a reason.
    Willie is an international Springbok star. Cheetahs are his of season workout. Just as its not glamorous that some pro athletes run hills & pull tractor tires vs going to a fancy pant gym for fitness….Willie decided to be adonized in the mess that is Cheetahs now.
    Of course some of his decisions will be lesser than ideal. Have you seen footage of the Syrian air force lately? They are dropping crude barrel explosives on terrorists vs gps cluster bombs.
    Why?
    Cause that’s all they have to work with & life has a tendancy to cause you to improvise.
    All the better when Willie gets back on the Intl circut. He will glide through opposing defenses because currently with Cheetahs he has to feel like he’s trying to play in combat boots.
    Can you imagine the SA offense without him? Think warfare pre-longbow. Axes & hammer stuff.
    Some of the comments just go to show being a superstar can be a thankless gig.

  12. avatar Americano says:
    April 15th, 2014 at 5:08 am

    Given that its Holy Week (& no I’m not comparing Willie to Jesus because i don’t wanna get struck by a lightning bolt or turn to a pillar of salt)…..

    The above comments remind me of those of Bryce when it came to Willie a year or two back. Just as was with Doubting Thomas how he had to see the nail marks on hands etc to belive….
    So to it was with the Messerschmitt & Bryce after countless amazing performances.

    I’ll end this sermon here for now but its a good reminder that if Bryce can have faith so too can all of you…

  13. avatar JT_BOKBEFOK! says:
    April 15th, 2014 at 8:30 am

    Did anyone watch the Amlin Cup match between Stade and Quins? Steyn was useless! Maybe he had a bad game on the day but from what I have seen of him in the Top14 it does not fill me with confidence!!

    Maybe Methos knows more?

  14. avatar Morné says:
    April 15th, 2014 at 9:04 am

    Vrede goes a long, round about way to state the obvious – no flyhalf has really impressed so Meyer will stick with Morne because “he knows what he has in him, and he has done the job there before”

    I said this a couple of weeks ago, and will say it again, I see nothing special in Goosen yet.

    Boshoff is a limited flyhalf, does the basics well, but that is about it. He does not dictate against strong opposition.

    Stormers aren’t worth mentioning.

    In fact, the most impressive SA flyhalf in Super Rugby this year does not even play in South Africa, but in Australia, for the Force.

  15. avatar Pokkel says:
    April 15th, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    @Morné: I’ve been quite impressed with JL Potgieter’s allround game. Been kicking well and has been quite good on attack as well. Plus the added benefit of getting some game time with Francois Hougaard who has looked better with JLP in control.

  16. avatar Morné says:
    April 15th, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    @Pokkel:

    He hasn’t been bad at all

  17. avatar DavidS says:
    April 15th, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    I’m amazed by the lack of suggested faith in Boshoff…

    He has been outstanding in a team that just does basic things and not much more.

    He is doing something no other flyhalf in SA does and that is being backline captain and making play calls… which is what 9s dio usually in SA… his tactical kicking is good, his goal kicking is good, his passes both ways are good and he is not afraid to take contact… what the hell more do you want from a flyhalf? He gets lost against better opposition? Oh like there is anything in the beginning of the season that in any way suggested the Lions were facing anything but better opposition the whole season?

    Sorry WRONG… Boshoff is THE STANDOUT flyhalf.

    Ebersohn is a mercurial type… capable of breathtaking genius and equally harebrained stupidity… and of course that old Cheetahs lamentable thingieinability to tackle.

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