Jacques Nienaber says Morne Steyn’s consistency was the key aspect that led to his inclusion in the 46-man Springbok squad for the British & Irish Lions series.
Steyn made his Springbok debut in 2009 and the last of his 66 Test caps came in 2016. Since then, he has been in the Bok wilderness, having taken up a stint with French club Stade Français, who he played for from 2013 to 2020.
But playing under Jake White following his return to the Bulls last year, Steyn has wound back the clock with one masterful performance after the other, reminding everyone of his star qualities.
Since the return-to-play following the Covid-19 interruption, Steyn has arguably been the most in form – and certainly the most consistent – flyhalf in South Africa. He guided the Bulls to the Super Rugby Unlocked and Currie Cup titles and is at the forefront of their quest to top the Rainbow SA log to advance to the north-south Rainbow Cup final.
And ultimately it’s that superior form that has earned him a Springbok recall as the third flyhalf alongside France-based duo Handre Pollard and Elton Jantjies. His inclusion, though, came at the expense of Sharks playmaker Curwin Bosch, who has been steadily improving.
Commenting on the selection during Saturday’s online media conference, Nienaber said: ‘The big thing we were looking for there was consistency.
‘If you look at the most consistent flyhalf after Covid-19 in South Africa, it was probably Morne, not to take anything away from Curwin.’
The Bok boss though, had some comforting words for Bosch, who he believes still has a long and bright Test future ahead of him.
‘His [Bosch’s] X-factor is phenomenal and he can win games for you out of nothing,’ Nienaber said.
‘He’s only 23 and as he grows a little bit older and plays more big games – Currie Cup finals like he did this year – he will probably get more consistent.
‘I can see him playing a lot of Test matches for South Africa.’
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