Is Steyn’s best, good enough?
The thought came up when I was reading an article where Heyneke Meyer said he can coach Morne Steyn back to his best. During the weekend, Meyer selected his squad for the two matches against Argentina, and many were saddened and disappointed to see some exclusions and, the now almost deemed passengers; Morne Steyn and Pierre Spies in the squad.
Meyer says he believes in consistency and you do not chop and change a player every match. Well, it seems like, despite your form, Meyer doesn’t chop or change his team even after 3 woeful performances under him as coach, and a few seasons’ poor performances under different coaches, namely Peter de Villiers and Frans Ludeke.
But lets assume for one moment that Meyer can in fact coach both Morne and Pierre back into their so-called “best” form.
Is their best good enough for the game in its present form?
I do recall a when Morne was at his best. It was in 2009 when the Springboks as a unit were in undefeatable form. Well, almost unbeatable and beating the British and Irish Lions 2-1, the All Blacks 3-0 and the Aussies 2-1 made them the best Bok squad since 2004 when they won their last Tri Nations trophy under Jake White.
If we now consider the details of those victories in 2009 and the significant impact Steyn played by kicking the ball as high as he can, Heinrich Brossouw chasing the ball and winning it on the ground with the wings also close by and the fact that there has been significant law interpretations changes at the breakdowns since that year which changed a 3-0 victory against the All Blacks in 2009 into a 3-0 loss against them in 2010, and Heinrich Brossouw falling out of favour because of how the game changed since then. We should also recall that the master of scrumhalves is not around to support Morne anymore, and I am really starting to worry, and have for some time, that even if Morne is back in form, will that be good enough for the Springboks to be Rugby Champions in 2012, 2013, 2014 or 2015 and World Champions in 2015?
The same can be said about Pierre Spies. He’s often been solid since his selection in 2006 but time has seemingly taken its toll and I have not seen a nr 8 being driven back in the tackle on a consistent basis like Pierre Spies has been tackled since his return from his lung problem which kept him out of the 2007 World Cup.
Can Meyer really coach him back to his best, and can his best be as good as it was when everyone was impressed with his immaculate strength and speed? I doubt it.
The problem remains that, it seems that no matter how poorly Steyn and Spies are performing, their names remain fixed on the Springbok squad list and perhaps only injury will finally allow someone fresh being included on pure merit.
Yes, you do need experience Mr Meyer, but where did that get us in the 2010 Tri Nations and 2011 World Cup? Maybe first we need to have the best available players and give them experience, so come 2015, 2016 and beyond, you have a constant stream of talented and experienced players.