CAPE TOWN – Morné Steyn was the most consistent flyhalf in South African rugby since the post-Covid-19 resumption, and that is why he was picked ahead of Curwin Bosch in the 46-man Springbok squad.
That was the view of Bok coach Jacques Nienaber, who added that Bosch will get another chance to add to his two Test caps he earned in 2017.
Veteran Steyn, who will turn 37 in July, kicked the series-winning penalty against the British and Irish Lions in 2009, and now has an opportunity to become one of a rare group of players to have faced the Lions in a Test twice in their career – with Frans Steyn also likely to do so in the three-match series.
The Bulls No 10 has been outstanding since returning to Loftus Versfeld from Stade Francais in Paris last year, having played his last of his 66 Tests in 2016 when the Boks were thrashed 57-15 by the All Blacks in Durban.
Steyn has proved that he is so much more than just an accurate goal-kicker over the last nine months, with his variations on attack adding a new dimension to the Bulls backline.
At the moment, he is third-in-line behind Handre Pollard and Elton Jantjies in the flyhalf pecking order.
The 23-year-old Bosch excelled for the Sharks during Super Rugby Unlocked and in the Currie Cup, although he missed a few crucial penalties in the final. But there is no doubt about the Gqeberha born-and-raised pivot’s talent, which is why he is not totally out of the national picture.
“The big thing we were looking for there is probably consistency. If you look at the most consistent flyhalf since after Covid in South Africa, it was probably Morné. Not to take anything away from Curwin – his X-factor is phenomenal, and he can win games for you out of nothing,” Nienaber said on Saturday night.
“He is only 23, and as he grows a little bit older, plays in more big games like the Currie Cup final, he will probably get more consistent. I can see him playing a lot of Test matches for South Africa.”
Steyn was at it again on Friday night, kicking a crucial second-half penalty to put the Bulls back into the lead in a tense clash with the Stormers, with the Pretoria side prevailing 31-27 in the end.
He recently explained what has led to the rejuvenation in his play, and that he is determined to be back in the Bok mix.
“I threw all the pressure off me – there is no pressure on me about ‘I must play for the Boks’, or ‘I’m fighting to play for the Boks’,” Steyn said.
“If it happens, it’s a bonus. I just came back here to enjoy my rugby for the last two or three years – with the way my body feels, it might be four years! You never know.
“If you play for any union, the dream and the motivation will always be there to play for the Springboks.
“I definitely want to play for the Springboks, and that’s one thing that motivates me to still play, and to be the best.
“I am a very competitive guy, so wherever I am playing, I want to be the best flyhalf on the field.
“I’m not (at) the Bulls to sit on the bench or to help the younger players.”