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Misfiring Springbok and Bulls flyhalf Morné Steyn will bounce back from his current goal-kicking slump and could once again be the man to kick the Bulls to yet another Super Rugby title according to Bulls coach Frans Ludeke.
Steyn was on the receiving end of some harsh criticism for his poor goal-kicking in the Springboks last Test against England on Saturday in Port Elizabeth and was even booed by the crowd in the latter stages of the match. While Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer threw his weight behind Steyn, Ludeke has acknowledged that Steyn does have a “small” problem but is only a kick away from being at his match winning best.
Earlier this season Steyn had gone through a similar slump in his goal-kicking form but the crisis was resolved in a matter of games and fortunately had little effect on the Bulls’ results. Again, Ludeke has no doubts that his trophy winning flyhalf will deliver for the Bulls as early as Saturday’s game against the Cheetahs and that there are no worries “at all” with Steyn’s form.
“We know Morné and know what he is capable off. There were one or two kicks this weekend that went astray and he also felt that he had the ability to kick them over. He has been in a similar situation before and he worked through it. We back him, we have confidence in him and he knows exactly the areas he needs to work on,” said Ludeke.
Ludeke was also wary of blaming fatigue as a factor to Steyn’s form even though the flyhalf has featured in almost every Bulls and Springbok match in the past four seasons.
Steyn’s playing form cannot be questioned as he has played well with ball in hand and his territorial kicking has also been of a satisfactory level and Ludeke is adamant that a few more hours on the training field can see Steyn return to his best soon.
“The other way to look at is that things can go plain sailing in your life and then there are patches like this. You can only work at it. There is nobody more eager to sort this out than him (Steyn). He is a guy with an amazing work ethic and he puts in the hours so it’s a small thing. To almost pin it down to mental fatigue would be unfair. I believe he is on top of the situation and he can bounce back,” added Ludeke.
And the Bulls will need Steyn at his best in their last three Super Rugby matches to secure themselves a place in the play-offs.
If the Bulls are to beat the Cheetahs with a bonus point and as unlikely as it may be for the Stormers to lose to the hapless Lions on Saturday then Ludeke’s men could move to the top of the South African conference with a better points difference.
Ludeke revealed that his side is eager to break their three match losing run and there will be no better time to do so as on Saturday on home soil.
“There is definitely a different mindset, it is a different phase of the competition and that is the same for all the teams. We used these three weeks to regroup because the weeks leading up to the break were disappointed with the results we got. We have a vital game this weekend against the Cheetahs and we’d like to be successful,” said Ludeke. – Pretoria News