South African Rugby
Steyn in last chance saloon
July 29, 2011
Steyn has struggled to refind his 2009 form © Getty Images
Springboks fly-half-come-fullback Morne Steyn is playing for his World Cup place in Saturday's Tri-Nations Test against New Zealand.
The claim comes from Springboks boss Peter de Villiers who has switched the Bulls fly-half to fullback for the clash. In Steyn's place comes Sharks fly-half Patrick Lambie who will make his first start for the Boks. Steyn struggled against the Wallabies last weekend and de Villiers has now conceded that Saturday's match could be Steyn's last chance to impress the selectors.
"Sometimes tough decisions need to be made before a World Cup, and for Morné this could be the last chance, or the only chance, for him to get back the form that made him invincible in 2009," De Villiers told IOL. "All of us go through patches in our lives, especially rugby players, and then they need people to give them a chance.
"One of his greatest (and unknown) attributes is his organisation skills within the team. From early on in his time with the Boks he contributed significantly to the discussion of senior players regarding game plans. He has been a great youngster to have on board."
Despite Steyn's loss of form - his ability to perform in high-pressure situations was perfectly shown following his successful last minute kick against the British & Irish Lions in 2009 - a fact de Villiers alluded to. However, Steyn faces a firm challenge for the Boks ten berth in the guise of Lambie and also from 2007 World Cup winning fly-half Butch James.
James is currently back in Rustenburg with the rest of the 20 injured Springboks and de Villiers may use the Currie Cup to test the former Bath man's form ahead of deciding who will be the Boks leading playmaker come September.
"We will make those decisions (about fly-half) in good time," said the coach. "I am not in a hurry, and there is still a Currie Cup to field players (such as James) and keep an eye on them.
"I don't have favourites and I don't have friends because they tend to let you down, as do players, but if the players understand that they can bring hope to their country by playing well, they should go to the World Cup and not stay at home."
© ESPN EMEA Ltd
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