Ken Borland

By Ken Borland


Steyn on Bok ambitions: ‘I didn’t return to sit on the bench’

"Few people get to play the Lions twice, so I would be very blessed if it happens,” said the Bulls man who featured in the Lions series in 2009.

Morne Steyn is not just a sharpshooter with the boot but also one of the straightest arrows one would hope to meet as a person. And on Tuesday he confirmed he is delighted to be in the Springboks’ plans for the British and Irish Lions tour because he did not return to Pretoria to merely wind down his career.

Steyn’s Bulls team have had the wood over all other local opposition over the last year and the 36-year-old flyhalf has played a key role in their success, his game-management being spot-on and his kicking as accurate as ever, while he has also helped their backline to be especially penetrative.

The Springboks brains trust of Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber have recognised that Steyn still has all the attributes one would want from a Test flyhalf, so he has been part of their alignment camps this year.

“I’m in the Springbok group and hoping for the best. I’m a very competitive guy, whether I’m playing against Griquas or whoever, I always want to be the best flyhalf on the field,” said Steyn.

“I didn’t come to Loftus to sit on the bench or help the youngsters, and playing for the Springboks is always your main goal playing in South Africa, although I didn’t feel any pressure to do it.

“It would be a bonus, not something you bargain on when you played your last Test in 2016. Now it’s five years later and I could be one of the senior guys who the youngsters look up to, like Victor Matfield and Fourie du Preez were when I made my Springbok debut against the Lions in 2009. Few people get to play the Lions twice, so I would be very blessed if it happens.”

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Steyn did not play for South Africa again after a then-record 57-15 defeat against the All Blacks in Durban in October 2016, but now, after all these years, the Springboks look set to return to the veteran of 66 Tests, alongside World Cup winners Handre Pollard and Elton Jantjies.

“It’s a whole different era now, the last time I played the Lions, I was the new oke and they were my first Tests,” he said.

“Now things are going very well with the Bulls, experience plays a role and the body is still feeling good. I do look after my body, I enjoy stretching and recovery and I did gymnastics at school, so I think that flexibility helps. I can still do what the younger guys do.

“Now my career is coming the whole circle and I hope to finish on a high. With the quality youngsters coming through at the Bulls there’s certainly a bright future there and as long as I’m still running at the front, as long as I don’t struggle to get up in the morning or come to training, I’ll take it year-by-year.

“The body still feels good and my mind is ready to go.”

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Lions tour Morné Steyn Springboks (Bokke/Boks)

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