Humble Steyn praises Springbok pack
August 1, 2009

Morne Steyn has played down his record-breaking performance in South Africa's 31-19 Tri-Nations win over New Zealand, maintaining that his job is easy behind the Springboks' rampaging pack.

The Bulls fly-half broke the record for most points in a Tri-Nations game, landing eight penalties and converting his own try to score all of the Springboks' points. The final tally could have been closer to 40 had a couple of drop-goal attempts not narrowly missed, along with a penalty that drifted wide in the final act of the game.

"I was a bit disappointed to miss that last kick but happy with the rest of them," Steyn said. "A lot of credit has to go to the forwards, though. Any No.10 would love to be in a side like this."

Steyn replaced the injured Ruan Pienaar for the game, after the Sharks man endured a mixed outing with the boot in Bloemfontein last weekend. Steyn maintains however that regardless of which player takes the fly-half berth, the outcome is the same.

"I see Ruan and myself as two pretty similar players," he said. "He's a good tactical and goalkicker, so nothing should change if he came into the side. I know he struggled in Bloemfontein (with his goalkicking) but we've all had off days. We know how good he is and the beauty of this side is that it doesn't depend on one player like me to win matches."

Captain John Smit compared Steyn's composure to that of retired fullback Percy Montgomery at the end of his 102-test career.

"He's a wonderful asset to have, when you've got a guy who's that young, still very inexperienced at international level and seems as composed as a Monty," Smit said. "I think I've been asked about Morne at every single press conference we've had this year so far. It's probably because he keeps on doing so well. It's one thing for a team to create pressure, it's another to convert that into points."

The All Blacks struggled to deal with a barrage of high balls from both Steyn and fullback Frans Steyn, their back-three of Mils Muliaina, Sitiveni Sivivatu and Joe Rokocoko all showing fragility when tested.

"The Springboks are outstanding at it, the way they put their kicks right on the button," Muliaina said. "It (catching) is definitely a work in progress. We spilled a few balls and we were parked inside our own 22 for the majority of that second-half.

"It's fair to say the South Africans love the fact they can go to a lineout or, if we kick long to them, they've got kickers who can kick 60-odd metres down the field."


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