Edinburgh head coach Mike Blair says he expects Chris Smith to start for the Vodacom Bulls in Saturday’s Vodacom United Rugby Championship match, but Morne Steyn is a good player to have on the bench.
Steyn was called into the Bulls squad for the final match of the URC tour after Johan Goosen sustained a knee injury during the third-round win over Cardiff.
Goosen was replaced by Chris Smith during the match and he kicked 19 points as the Bulls came from 16-3 down at half time to seal a 29-19 victory.
Steyn, who is three years younger than Blair, was the hero of the Springboks during the 2021 British & Irish Lions series, as he slotted a 78th-minute penalty to win the series for South Africa.
“He’s a good player,” Blair told Scottish media. “His main strength is his kicking game which, as we know, is an important facet of the game.
“The type of player he is, he’s probably got another couple of years in him. He’s a Rolls-Royce. He keeps his shirt clean, he moves the guys around the pitch. He’s like the conductor – he puts the team in the right places.
“I wouldn’t have thought he’ll start. Chris Smith did pretty well when he came on and he’s got a big boot on him as well.
“But, yeah, not a bad call-up, is he?”
The South African teams experienced a tough start to the campaign, with only the Lions picking up a win in the first two rounds.
However, the performances were much improved in the third round, as the Bulls and Sharks both recorded their first wins of the tournament, while the Stormers were able to hold Edinburgh to a credible draw.
“I think it would have been nice to get the South African teams in week one and week two when they were a little bit rusty, but I think now they’re starting to hit their straps,” Blair said.
“It’ll be a real contest for us. They’re a huge team. I read [Cardiff coach] Dai Young’s quote saying they’re the biggest team he thinks he’s ever faced in his life. You look at the back row in particular and they’re absolutely huge men and they play to that as a strength.
“So, whether it’s Morne Steyn or Chris Smith, we expect them to march them around the pitch and try to put them in good areas so we need to try to combat that.”