Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber says having the experience of Frans Steyn is a massive boost after the veteran back produced a Man of the Match performance in the win against Wales on Saturday. DYLAN JACK reports.
Steyn was named on the bench against Wales but ended up playing most of the match in Cardiff as he replaced Damian Willemse, who was forced off with concussion, just 15 minutes into the Test.
As was the case in the win against New Zealand in the Rugby Championship, Steyn’s experience proved key as the Springboks came from behind to claim their first win in Cardiff since 2013.
The 34-year-old was not only a calm leader at the back for the Boks, but he also slotted one of his famous long-range penalties to get the team back into the match in the second half.
Nienaber spoke highly of Steyn’s contribution to the team off the field as well as on it during the post-match press conference.
“I thought Frans did really well when he came on,” Nienaber said. It’s great to have a guy with so much experience, 72 Test matches and he has played lots of rugby in the northern hemisphere and is used to these conditions.
“When it started raining before the game, he was standing with a few of the outside backs and he gave them a few technical points. He has played quite a lot in this kind of weather.
“That’s the positive about having guys with that experience. He has been here and played in these games and made mistakes. Frans is at a stage in his career where he has a bunch of information and knowledge and he isn’t shy to share it. He is a great team man.
“We are going to be playing in these conditions in 2023, so that experience is really important for us.”
Although the match was a grind for the Boks, Nienaber added that the team got exactly what they wanted from the Test, as they were able to expose players like Herschel Jantjies to conditions that they will be facing in the 2023 World Cup.
“This is exactly what we wanted from this match. A guy like Herschel told me after the game that it was really difficult. This is completely different. We will be playing against Wales next year in June when they visit us so we are looking forward to those three Tests.”