Frans Steyn runs the ball while playing for Montpellier. Photo: Dave Davies/PA.
JOHANNESBURG - The probable return to the Springbok set-up of Frans Steyn smacks of desperation on the part of coach Allister Coetzee, but at the same time he almost has no option but call-up the France-based midfielder.

If weekend newspaper reports are to be believed, then Steyn and hooker Bismarck du Plessis are two of the overseas-based South Africans coach Coetzee will call up for the June series against France. It shows how desperate he is to win that series - possibly to keep himself in the job, but also to get South Africa behind the team again - but will these two men really solve the problems that beset the team last year?

One’s got to wonder what, other than experience, Steyn - who plays for Montpellier under former Springbok coach Jake White in the Top 14 - will bring to a Bok side in transition and looking to play a slightly more expansive game.

The 29-year-old has been around for 10 years now and played in South Africa, Japan and France and knows a thing or two about Test rugby.

But his style of play has always been closer to bash it up rather than create and it’s likely to be no different this year. He has certainly not displayed X-factor qualities for some time, and that is what has been lacking in the Bok team over the last few years.

But Steyn does have experience and the Boks in 2017 will need as much of that as they can get.

It’s likely Coetzee’s backline in June will include a relative rookie at scrumhalf, Cobus Reinach or Ross Cronje, his flyhalf is possibly going to be Curwin Bosch or Elton Jantjies - one a 19-year-old in his first season of Super Rugby and the other a player who never convinced in Test rugby last season - following long-term injuries suffered by Handre Pollard and Pat Lambie, while the outside centre, wings and fullback are not going to be Test-stacked players, either.

That’s why Steyn coming in wouldn’t be a surprise.

But one’s got to ask how, in the long-run, will his recall - from overseas for the umpteenth time - benefit the Boks?

If he’s picked with an eye on making him the first choice No 12 until the next World Cup then fine; if not, then it’s not worth it.

Problem is Rohan Janse van Rensburg is out for the June Tests, so is Damian de Allende, Howard Mnisi and also Dan du Plessis, while Jan Serfontein is heading overseas after Super Rugby and the likes of Burger Odendaal, Nico Lee, Harold Vorster and Andre Esterhuizen haven’t been close to a call-up.

Du Plessis, too, would bring some much-needed experience to a young Bok pack, but at 32 is he going to be the first choice hooker option at the 2019 World Cup, especially as his future is abroad? After all, there are quality young hookers like Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Robbie Coetzee, Edgar Marutlulle and Scarra Ntubeni looking to learn and grow in the pressure-filled environment of Test rugby.

And what about Bryan Habana and JP Pietersen then, and Duane Vermeulen and Francois Louw, and Jannie du Plessis?

There is no doubt the Boks are desperate for some experience in key positions, but is picking these men, who’re living overseas and nearing the end of their careers, a move to look after the now, when the priority should rather be to make sure the future is in good hands?

The Star

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