The Frans Factor: Hopes lie with big Bok No 10 as Rugby Championship deficit looms large

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The Frans Factor: Hopes lie with big Bok No 10 as Rugby Championship deficit looms large
The Frans Factor: Hopes lie with big Bok No 10 as Rugby Championship deficit looms large

Africa-Press – South-Africa. In Durban

Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick says there’s a reason why Frans Steyn has played Test rugby for as long as he has.

Steyn, who made his Test debut against Ireland in 2006 when he was still 19, will be central to the Springboks’ hopes against Argentina at Kings Park on Saturday.

With New Zealand beating the Wallabies 40-14 at Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday, the Boks need to win by 39 or more points to claim the Rugby Championship.

Steyn’s game management will underpin the Boks’ approach to what will easily be their sternest rugby Test since the third encounter against the British & Irish Lions last year.

Stick said Steyn understands how they play, something the 35-year-old pivot will have to be clever with on Saturday.

“The situation with Frans Steyn is similar to what we have with Damian Willemse. He’s always been in our system,” Stick said.

“He always knew that he was a back-up player for us when it came to playing at 10 or 15, and his experience made it easy for us with Willemse being injured.

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“He understands how we want to play the game, he understands our systems and he’s a mature player.

“You don’t play for 15 years at Test level and there’s nothing special about you. He’s a special player and we trust him with everything he’s got.”

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi was also effusive in his praise of Steyn, saying the Grey College product is an epitome of calm and responsibility.

“It couldn’t have been asked of anyone better because he has done such in so many moments from a young age,” Kolisi said.

“One remembers that penalty from 2007 and he never shies away from those kinds of responsibilities.

“He’s brought calmness and simplicity to the team. He tells us not to panic as he’s got everything under control.

“He’s been wanting this opportunity and it’s really exciting for him. He’s been wanting this opportunity and now he’s back

“We’ve got insurance for long-range penalties because Argentina has that person in Emiliano Boffelli.”

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