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The ‘player’ of 2009


Following the semi’s this weekend and given the nominations for awards around the corner, I wondered if a new category should not be included?

Guys like JJ Harmse might be perplexed by some of the nominations for the up and coming SA Rugby Awards but I believe the categories do not actually serve some of the most telling contributions by certain individuals.

For starters, player of the year means less to me than player’s player of the year nominations as the true judge of your ability should not come from administrators or journalists, but your direct peers.

In fact, did we ever see a tighthead prop receive the player of the year award?  And we all know they are the most important guys on the park!

When speaking to rugby players you find that most believe man of the match awards and player of the year awards are not always a true reflection of the contributions of certain individuals.

I have almost no doubt Fourie du Preez will receive the player of the year award.  And although there is no doubting his ability and the fact that he is the best scrumhalf in the world right now, I wonder if the award of South Africa’s ‘best player’ is really down to his influence on the teams he represented, or more to the fact that he has no equal when judged against other players in the same position – almost like there is so much daylight between him and the next guy he just has to be the best player on the planet.

Perhaps he deserves it based on those ground, I am certainly not going to dispute it, but there is another player who in my view had the biggest impact and biggest influence in just about every single game he played this year.

It is also difficult to debate whether the Bulls and the Boks would not have achieved they success if Fourie was not present.  There is a strong case for that but all the arguments would have been subjective at best.

What became clear to me however on Saturday is the immense influence one man had both for the Bulls and the Boks this year.

Do you think there is more truth in the statement that: “Without Fourie we might still have achieved success at the Bulls and Boks, but without X we would not have”?

I suppose it depends on who X is?

Well the more I think about it and the more I look back, the more I start to believe that a massive influence on both the Bulls and Boks’ success in 2009 was none other than one Mr. Morné Steyn.

On Saturday one guy remarked that next time we see Steyn, we should check for a pulse because they believe this guy has no nerves or any emotion no matter what the situation.  He is simply calculated and deadly.

Another story I heard in the post-match presser was one where Morné missed a conversion in one of the tests this year where the game was already won comfortably.  After the match the guy was apparently incensed at the fact that he could have missed that kick…

The difference on Saturday between WP and the Blue Bulls was Morné Steyn.  Perhaps as much as the difference between the Boks and B&I Lions in Pretoria was the same guy, and the difference between the All Blacks and Aussies and the Boks was again, none other than Mr. Steyn.

Oh and let’s not forget the Bulls Super 14 campaign now either…

Morné might not be a Dan Carter, whereas Fourie du Preez can be mentioned in the same class as a scrumhalf as Carter is to flyhalf, but does that make Fourie more influential than what Morné was in 2009?

I don’t think so.

Perhaps the only way around this is to create a category of most influential player of the year?

But for my money, the guy that was the difference between his team winning and losing, was Morné Steyn, which makes him SA most valuable player for 2009 in my books.

Leave a comment


  1. Good article Morne,

    I think most people still do not realise how important a good kicking 10 is. Imagine we had a good kicker in 1997, when in my opinion the Boks as a team were close to the perfect 15, except they did not have a kicker!

    Take the Cheetahs, they have a monster pack right now. Really aggro and apply loads of pressure, but JL Potgieter misses 3 kicks and suddenly they have to change the entire game plan?

    Had the Cheetahs a player of Morne’s caliber they would have murdered the Sharks on Saturday.

    The difference between the Bulls and Cheetahs next Saturday will be Morne Steyn.

    You can count on it.

  2. My only moment of anger all weekend? Seeing the brilliant De Jong do a goose step.


    Jassis do they not SEE from Jantjies and Luke that the feckin goose step NEVER works.

    Its just another Cape cancer. Now that Brits and Luke is gone we can only hope the virus wont spread.

    Lets hope Juan’s mom moers it out of him before Jantjies returns!

  3. You make a very good
    if somewhat preposterous
    Actually I’m looking for
    the Afrikaans word “aweregs”
    (upside down, against the stream).

  4. Back to the article. Morne and Brussouw are no doubt the finds of the year, and the Bok management were reluctant to include either.

    This in my mind is a good thing.

    It HAS to be this hard for a player to make the squad and even still Morne knows Peter likes Ruan more and Brussouw knows Burger is the favourite.

    Trust either these boys to just keep stealing balls and knocking kicks over!

    As for WP booing Morne? Well just another WP cancer.:shake:

  5. Reply to Boertjie @ 12:38 pm:

    Not preposterous at all. WP bought De Waal for this simple reason.

    The week before they said to WP: have discipline because Steyn WILL punish you every time. Well he did.

  6. Reply to Boertjie @ 12:41 pm:

    Ja Liebenberg is getting better by the day and it seems himself and Blaauw has stopped the high fiving after every scrum as well/.

    The crowd booed Morne for missing a kick.

    Trying to keep the North/South rivalry up I suppose. Yet WP would really keep it up if they manage to win things when it matters, which they dont at the moment.

    WP had a good season allround if you look at Club and Craven Week, but as soon as the WP as a union gets involved it seems to go downhill. No teams in the final, despite having the most players available?

    Coaching? The fact that best young players are in Pretoria? What is it really?

  7. Reply to Namboer @ 2:46 pm:

    De Jong is an yster. He runs straight and at pace – he can distribute and he can tackle a kak shot.

    I would play him and Ebersohn (at 12) together right now.

    But if he gives another goose step there will be trouble

  8. 9) Fourie Dup (captain
    10) Morne Steyn
    11) Mapoe
    12) Ebersohn
    13) De Jong
    14) Ruan Pienaar
    15) F Steyn.

    Please anyone show me a better backline 2011?

  9. Reply to newbokshields @ 3:27 pm:

    Wel, Tina Steyn is uit.
    Joe Pietersen is klein, maar
    beter as Hangbek. En hy
    skop pale toe.

    As jy ‘n 9/10/15 op vleuel wil
    speel beteken dit net een ding:
    Ons het nie vleuels nie!

  10. Reply to Boertjie @ 3:31 pm:

    Nee ek praat 2011. Sal Ruan op 14 speel soos wat ek Jean op 11 sou speel. Jy kan nie daardie tipe skills vervang nie en vleuls doen lankal meer nie net die spoed ding nie.

    As Ruan nie in 2010 `n besluit maak nie gaan hy homself justify as `n allrounder. Speel hy die hele jaar 10 dan kan ek weer besluit.

    Tans is hy die gevaarlikste in gebroke spel so hy is dalk `n 15, soos wat baie mense dink. En as jy `n 15 kan wees kan jy `n goeie 11/14 wees.

    Ruan is bedrieglik vinnig. Wis is hangbek as ek mag vra?

  11. Reply to newbokshields @ 3:27 pm:

    No Habana,JF, JPP??
    Why look for the next big thing when we have bunch of brilliant players already?
    There is no need to push. If these guys are good enough they will play themselves into the team.

  12. Reply to Boertjie @ 3:31 pm:

    Boer die ding van Joe is hy kan envoudig nie met sy lyfie `n hele jaar deur super 1 speel en dan in toetse speel nie. Hulle sal hom breek, behalwe as hy bulk soos Giteau of selfs Russel.

    Pietersen is klein en maer, soos Aplon ook maar – albei briljant.

  13. Reply to fyndraai @ 3:47 pm:

    Fyndraai I agree with you to a point. No team has ever won a WC twice because this is the thinking.

    Those players you mention have won everything and should be in the squad but I believe if we want to win it again we need young hungry okes, like ours was in 2007.

    For example, as much as I think the guy is the best ever (I nominate him for player of the year) I think Smittie will do our rugby a great favour if he steps down now from International rugby. Lets find a new captain and a real prop.

    We have time yet. Lets pick the next guys and stick with them.

  14. Reply to fyndraai @ 3:47 pm:

    Agreed. Why push for new stars when the current crop can go to 2011. What about meisiekind?

    Morne, as good as steyn is and as important as he was to our success, will he have made such an impact without bakkies, brossouw and the players around him? I do not like this player of the year crap. Morne is awesome, he amazed me this season, but he would not have meant anything without the team around him.

  15. Focusing too much on the WC which is only 7 games (4 easy ones) every 4 years will ruin rugby.
    I’d rather be number 1 in the 4 years in between.

  16. Reply to Morné @ 3:54 pm:

    C’mon I have always liked them, Pietersen being a Grey boy and all and Aplon one of the reasons why i love watching sevens.

    But neither can play even Super 14, as has been proved last year.

    By the way to think that Willem Alberts played 7’s?

  17. …and is the rumor not if the first team that win the World Cup three times keep the Cup???

  18. Reply to Aldo @ 3:57 pm:

    Nee fok boeta when Morne lines up that kick there is no-one helping him. He and he alone nails it. Kind of a sport within a sport, and currently Morne is best at it.

    Just how calm is he with that kick at Newlands?

  19. Reply to fyndraai @ 4:00 pm:
    There is a money issue also.
    If you drop the current players they will go play in Europe and the S14 teams will suffer. Attendance and income will drop for both S14 and the test matches.
    Then it’s bye-bye to all the top players, even the young ones.

  20. Reply to newbokshields @ 12:36 pm: One would hope that the first thing Frans Ludeke teaches him when he arrives in Pretoria is that that kind of kak doesn’t sit lekker with the white boere… Just score the tries and they will worship you like they do Bryan Habana (whose old man has made the biggest mistake of his son’s career)

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