Adam Wakefield

Morne Steyn has got to go

Nick Mallett, the silver fox of SuperSport’s studio team for this year’s Rugby Championship, was on the mark when he stated South Africa will not have a better chance to beat New Zealand in New Zealand for a very long time after the Springboks contrived to lose a game 21-11 they should have won. The fantastic effort by the forwards and Bryan Habana’s wonderful solo try all meant zero following Morne and Frans Steyn leaving 20 points on the park from missed kicks.

Frans Steyn, while a valuable long-range option, is not expected to nail every kick he takes and is not the person the Springboks depend on to keep the scoreboard ticking. Morne Steyn, whose reputation as a reliable goal kicker has slowly evaporated with each poor performance this season, is the one who shoulders that responsibility.

For a flyhalf who is too often not first receiver and has had the moniker “handbrake” attached to his backline distribution due to the lack of it, to miss so many kicks at international level is criminal. It was a terrible performance, with coach Heyneke Meyer conceding the missed kicks cost the Springboks victory. His aimless kicking at times out of hand also did not endear the Bulls no 10 to South Africans watching back home on Saturday morning.

It’s time Meyer drop a player whose place in the Springbok XV on current form is not deserved. With the extremely promising Johan Goosen waiting in the wings, to keep picking Steyn might undermine Meyer’s credibility as a coach who puts the Springboks first and not provincial loyalties. Meyer no doubt does put the Springboks first, but his tendencies to rely on Bulls players has created a strong suspicion he may be biased, especially in Durban and Cape Town.

Steyn, in fairness, has played 29 consecutive Tests and Super Rugby every season since making his Springbok debut in 2009. Perhaps dropping Steyn, and finally giving him a break, would be more of a service to the Bulls pivot than to keep selecting him? Sports scientists have been stating the effect fatigue has on a player’s performance, while he has been fortunate to not have picked up an injury, the constant grind of Test and Super Rugby would have had an impact.

Another Bulls player, Zane Kirchner, has not inspired at fullback (and let’s not even mention the attempted “drop goal”). While a quality Super Rugby performer, at international level he doesn’t offer the versatility and skill that Pat Lambie would if the Sharks man were chosen at 15. His is another name resounding loud and clear when talk of the “Blou Bokke” fills the air and online pages.

The number of fumbles as the green machine approached the try line was also galling as these are the types of basic errors we saw when South Africa lost to Australia in that Wellington quarter-final last year. Not knowing how to finish (or offload) is leaving South Africa limited in their scoring options, and with Steyn having been abject with the boot, kicking below 50% this season, it’s time for a change.

And Dean Greyling? He should not come near a Springbok jersey until he has learned such thuggish behaviour, striking Richie McCaw while cleaning him out from a dodgy angle (the sort of thuggery we saw in that WP-Sharks game over the weekend) is absolutely unacceptable.

Meyer has two home games left to turn things around and change attitudes. Fans are waiting