Allister Coetzee says the kicking game and experience of Morné Steyn warranted his inclusion in the Springboks’ match 23 for Saturday’s clash with Argentina in Salta, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
Coetzee caught some by surprise when he recalled the 32-year-old Stade Français pivot to the Bok squad as an injury replacement for Pat Lambie ahead of the second Test against Ireland in June.
At the time, Coetzee correctly asserted that it was too soon to expose Sharks flyhalf Garth April to the Test arena, while championing the value of the experience that the 61 Test-capped Steyn could add to the team.
Steyn only briefly featured off the bench at Ellis Park on 18 June, but has remained in the Bok squad for the Rugby Championship, with April now back in Currie Cup action with the Sharks.
And while Johan Goosen has added another potential flyhalf option to the current squad, Coetzee has said he wants the France-based utility back to focus on his role at fullback.
Goosen did provide flyhalf and goal-kicking cover in last Saturday’s Test against Argentina in Nelspruit, but that job will now fall to Steyn, who could well have an important role to play late in the game, particularly if the scores are close.
Indeed, if one recalls, Steyn was the man who slotted a 77th-minute penalty to hand the Boks a narrow 33-31 win over the Pumas in Salta in 2014, and it’s this sort of composure under pressure that Coetzee will be looking to bank on once again.
‘Morné has a calm head and an appreciation for conditions in Salta. He’s proven with his kicking prowess that he can turn a side like Argentina and capitalise when it comes to getting points when it comes to his goal-kicking. He’s a very experienced player who has been around for a long time.’
Jantjies is set to start his fourth successive Test at flyhalf, and while he produced some good moments against Argentina last weekend, it was far from a complete performance, while he also missed a couple of important goal kicks.
Coetzee suggested it would be beneficial to have an experienced stalwart in Steyn to provide backup, while allowing Goosen to settle at fullback.
‘Elton needs to keep receiving opportunities, but also to have support in his role. It’s only set to be his fourth start after all. He’s also learning, but I’m confident he will continue to make progress. Both him and Johan are attack-minded players, but I’d like Johan to focus on 15 and not on a job as a backup 10.’
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