New Zealand 29-32 South Africa, Tri-Nations, September 12
Steyn is the new master blaster
September 13, 2009
Springboks captain John Smit embraces fullback Frans Steyn, New Zealand v South Africa, Tri-Nations, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, New Zealand, September 12, 2009
Springboks captain John Smit embraces Frans Steyn following their victory over the All Blacks in Hamilton © Getty Images

South African superboot Francois Steyn broke the All Blacks' hearts three times as he joined the list of famous monster goalkickers at the Waikato Stadium in Hamilton.

Employing a short run-up, audacious fullback Steyn set the tone for the Springboks' 32-29 win with a trio of first-half penalties inside his half, the first from 60m sending gasps around Waikato Stadium.

His efforts kick-started a perfect night of goalkicking, with Springboks fly-half Morne Steyn slotting four from four shots and All Blacks counterpart Daniel Carter seven from seven. With both teams scoring two tries, it was a difficult Morne Steyn dropped goal that ultimately proved the difference.

Frans Steyn, who is leaving shortly to join French club Racing Metro, also had no help from the elements last night and would have been hampered by a heavy ball on a damp surface.

His mammoth strikes brought a smile to the face of captain John Smit. "He's not a goalkicker, he's a rocket launcher," Smit said. "Sometimes he's a little bit off target.

"I said to him that he's moving on to France and to have a memorable game so everyone will miss him. We didn't have a lot of time in the All Blacks half in the first half and we got nine points out of him. It's hard to get that from any goalkicker."

That Francois Steyn's booming strikes took place on the same ground where Waikato and All Blacks great Don Clarke produced similarly prodigious deeds was not lost on New Zealand lock Brad Thorn.

"I grew up with my dad telling me about Don Clarke kicking them 60-70m," Thorn said. "I experienced that tonight. He (Steyn) is a quality goalkicker, good luck to him."

Carter also marvelled at the Durban youngster's "impressive" efforts from 60m, 57m and 52m, saying they required a mix of timing and power possessed by few. He estimated his own range finished at about 55m but it was notable the All Blacks turned down a shot from 54m when the Springboks were penalised midway through the first half, opting instead to kick for touch.

Carter landed a shot from about 62m when the All Blacks beat the Springboks in Pretoria three years ago but that was aided by the thin air of altitude.

French fullback Pierre Villepreux was famously helped by a howling southerly when he landed a 65m shot in his team's loss to New Zealand at in Wellington, a kick preceded by laughter from the Athletic Park crowd.

The longest successful unaided shot in Test rugby history is said to be Welsh fullback Paul Thorburn's 64.2m effort against Scotland in Cardiff.

Carter landed his own wonder goal last night, converting captain Richie McCaw's late sideline try in what observers timed at about 10sec, leaving time for a late All Blacks bid for victory.


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