Cape Town – Morné Steyn epitomises what is expected from a Springbok rugby player, coach Heyneke Meyer said in Cape Town on Wednesday.
“I have coached Morné for many years and I remember when he first arrived at the Blue Bulls he was an ordinary talent,” Meyer said.
“He is a great example of hard work beating talent. He has such an unbelievable work ethic. He always trains 100 percent and then spends time afterwards taking extra kicks at the posts.
“He has epitomised what I would like to see from a player in this team.”
Steyn, who plays for French outfit Stade Français, and Jannie du Plessis will be playing their 50th Tests for South Africa against Australia at Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday.
Du Plessis, who plays at tighthead prop, had copped some criticism recently, mainly for his shortcomings in defence. However, Meyer said he was aware of the criticism but felt the prop had done enough to warrant selection.
“You can’t expect a tighthead prop to always defend (reliably),” Meyer said.
“The match stats show that as a tighthead, he has the most cleans and tackles. I accept that he wasn’t at his best in the last match but that was partly because our playing systems were not always in place, and that is what let him down.
“The one area I am very happy with at the moment is the scrummaging, especially compared to last year, and Jannie must take a lot of credit for that. He does a lot of work outside of the scrums too. When we analyse matches he is always up there with the most tackles. I believe he is playing great rugby.”
Adriaan Strauss was Meyer's choice to wear the number two jersey for the Newlands Test after Bismarck du Plessis was red-carded in the last match which was against the All Blacks in New Zealand.
“It was not that I wanted to keep Bismarck away from this game,” Meyer said.
“I’m a simple coach and I try to keep things simple. Some time ago I had already told the hookers which matches they will be playing. I won't change that now because trust (in the coach) is big for me and I stick to my word.
“I think we have two of the best hookers in the world and I need to keep players fresh going forward.”
Performance was key and Meyer said he remained loyal to good performers as opposed to the actual players.
“Both Bismarck and Adriaan are great leaders. It also important going forward to have all the guys doing double figures (in Test caps) so that by the time the World Cup comes around, there will be enough experience in the ranks.
“I don’t believe in giving away Test caps. Players must play for their places.
“In this case again, it was horses for courses.” – Sapa