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Morné Steyn

Heyneke Meyer

Heyneke Meyer

The Springbok selectors on Sunday finalised the squad of 31 players that will travel to Brisbane for the opening match of The Rugby Championship, next Saturday at the Suncorp Stadium against the Wallabies.

The touring squad consists of 22 players who did duty against the World XV at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday.

The only member of the match-day squad to stay behind in South Africa is Jean de Villiers, who has been released to DHL Western Province to get game time in their ABSA Currie Cup warm-up matches in the next fortnight.

The players who did not feature against the World XV, but will travel to Brisbane, are Lionel Mapoe, Lwazi Mvovo, Rudy Paige, Jan Serfontein, Morné Steyn, Schalk Brits, Lood de Jager, Frans Malherbe and Heinke van der Merwe.

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Stade Français

Stade Français, Top 14 Champions for 2015

Stade Français ensured Clermont’s dire record continued as the Paris club handed the side from central France their 11th defeat in 12 French finals.

South African flyhalf Morné Steyn kicked Stade Français into a 6 / 0 lead, while Morgan Parra missed 2 chances to reduce the lead for Clermont.

Steyn added a 3rd penalty before Camille Lopez made it 9 / 3 at the break.

Brock James cut the gap to 3 but missed a chance to level the scores and Steyn added a 4th penalty late on.

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Stade vs Racing

Springbok Morné Steyn’s long-range kicking capability took centre stage as Stade Francais overcame the early Red Carding of captain Sergio Parisse to beat Parisian rivals Racing-Metro 28 / 19 in Top 14 action on Sunday.

The win leaves Stade in 4th in the table behind leaders Toulon, Clermont and Toulouse, with Oyonnax in 5th above Racing in 6th.

With just 2 games of the regular season to play, the pressure will be on in the fight to nail down a spot in the top 6 for the end-of-season play-offs.

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Morné Steyn & Mosese Ratuvou

Morné Steyn & Mosese Ratuvou

South African international flyhalf Morné Steyn is free to play for his French club, Stade Francais, in their European Challenge Cup game.

Steyn was handed a 1-match ban on Wednesday, by the National Rugby League – the body controlling the French leagues.

The 30-year-old Steyn, who had asked for his disciplinary hearing to be moved forward from next week to Wednesday, had already missed the Top 14 clash with Castres this past weekend – an encounter that Stade won 49-13 at home.

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Morné Steyn & Mosese Ratuvou

Morné Steyn & Mosese Ratuvou

Veteran Springbok Morné Steyn claims he was ‘eye-gouged’, which is why he kicked out at Fijian wing Mosese Ratuvou.

The 30-year-old flyhalf was red-carded for the kick in the first half of the Stade Français’ 9-12 loss to Lyon in a French Top 14 match last Friday.

Steyn, the top-scorer at the 2011 World Cup and a holder of numerous international records, had confidently kicked Stade into a 6-0 lead – courtesy of a 40-metre penalty and a quick-thinking drop-goal.

But after Ratuvou had cut the deficit with the game’s opening try, Steyn saw red in the 31st minute for kicking the Fijian wing as the two tussled on the ground.

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Morné Steyn

Morné Steyn

South African flyhalf Morné Steyn endured a miserable first start of the season for Stade Francais on Friday when he was red-carded in the Top 14 leaders’ 9-12 defeat at Lyon.

Steyn, the 30-year-old top-scorer at the 2011 World Cup, had confidently kicked Stade into a 6-0 lead – courtesy of a 40-metre penalty and a quick-thinking drop-goal.

But after Mosese Ratuvou had cut the deficit with the game’s opening try, Steyn saw red in the 31st minute for kicking the Fijian wing as the two tussled on the ground.

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Zane Kirchner

Zane Kirchner

Morné Steyn

Morné Steyn

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer is likely to surprise with a few unpopular decisions in his 2015 Rugby World Cup squad.

According to weekend newspaper reports, the inclusion of flyhalf Morné Steyn and fullback Zane Kirchner could be the biggest shocks in Meyer’s 31-man squad for next year’s showpiece event in England and Wales.

Kirchner has fallen out of favour in recent times after the emergence of Willie le Roux, while Steyn has fallen behind Pat Lambie and Handré Pollard in the flyhalf pecking order.

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Handré Pollard

Handré Pollard

Saturday’s Rugby Championship Test between New Zealand and South Africa in Wellington could be a significant one in the career of Springbok flyhalf Handré Pollard.

The 20-year-old was on Wednesday included in the Bok starting team at the expense of the experienced Morné Steyn, who seemed to pay the price for his late kicking blunder against Australia in Perth last weekend.

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Heyneke Meyer

Bok coach Heyneke Meyer

South Africa have handed the controls to 20-year-old first five-eighth Handré Pollard as they look for an attacking spark to end their three-year drought against the All Blacks.

Pollard is the only change to the Springbok side that lost narrowly to Australia in Perth last week, but signals a major shift from coach Heyneke Meyer as he looks forward toward next year’s World Cup.

Significantly, Pollard, in what will be just his fourth test, pushes the more traditional South African veteran Morné Steyn out of the squad for what is South Africa’s biggest test of The Rugby Championship so far this year.

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Morné Steyn

Danger man: Morné Steyn at Springbok training in Perth on Tuesday.

In the 60th minute of the Springboks’ 33-31 win against Argentina two weeks ago, replacement No 10 Morné Steyn ripped a beautiful flat pass, left to right, to take out two Pumas defenders and put Jean de Villiers in enough space to release Cornal Hendricks for a crucial try.

South Africa has gone back to what it knows against the Wallabies on Saturday – Steyn replaces youngster Handré Pollard and Victor Matfield returns to run the lineout – and it makes it more dangerous for the Wallabies. More predictable?

Possibly, but the Springboks have never done unpredictability well. Territory, set piece, hard kick chases, pressure. It is still a base game that is hard to defeat, especially if the Perth forecasters are right and there are showers and strong winds on Saturday.

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Jannie du Plessis & Morné Steyn

Jannie du Plessis & Morné Steyn

There was nothing surprising about Springbok flyhalf Morné Steyn focusing on the scrum as he prepared to depart with the squad at the weekend for what will be a testing Australasian leg of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship.

The scrumming was not the only area of concern for the Boks during the June internationals and in the two Championship matches against Argentina.

But it was an aspect that fell short both against Wales and the Pumas, and those who know the South African rugby psyche, will understand the ripple effect that the scrumming humiliation at the hands of Argentina in Salta would have sent through the team.

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South AfricaIt is understood that French-based players in the Springbok squad are unlikely to be available to play Scotland in next week’s Test in Port Elizabeth.

This means the likes of Morne Steyn, Gurthro Steenkamp, Bakkies Botha and Bryan Habana will all have to report back to their clubs.

It’s understood the clubs will invoke International Rugby Board (IRB) Regulation Nine, which governs the release of players for the June test window.

The regulation stipulates that releases are required for the second, third and fourth weekends of June, or for three matches.

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Morné Steyn

Morné Steyn

South African coach Heyneke Meyer dished out a swipe at the ongoing criticism of Springbok flyhalf Morné Steyn.

The 55-Test veteran was a pivotal player in the Boks’ 38-16 (5 tries to 1) demolition of Wales in Durban at the weekend, but still haven’t convinced his detractors that he is the real deal.

Not only did he produce a 100 percent goal-kicking performance (5 conversions and a penalty), but the 37 times he handled the ball he kicked just 10 times – with 21 passes and 6 runs.

The Bok coach, Meyer, pointed out that the high attrition rate among flyhalves makes Steyn an even more valuable asset to the national team.

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Morné Steyn

Morné Steyn

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer is not worried about the lack of game time flyhalf Morné Steyn recently got in France.

It was widely reported that Steyn had struggled for form at his French club, Stade Francais, which led to him spending the majority of the past season on their bench.

However, Meyer says Steyn did not fall out of favour with the Paris-based club’s coaches.

“The overseas clubs manage our players carefully and most of them have a rotation policy,” Meyer was quoted as saying.

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South AfricaInternational news is flowing like a river in flood today, seems I have been updating all day, today… but we like it that way, don’t we!

Reviews of the Fourie du Preez try, clearly shows that Jaque Fourie was ahead of Fourie du Preez when he kicked, did not retreat and the subsequent try, however well-worked, should not have been awarded. Another blemish on refereeing in 2013!

Looking ahead at this weekend’s clash against Scotland, it appears at this stage if Bakkies Botha might get a starting berth at lock and it looks likely that Patrick Lambie will get the nod at flyhalf.

Meanwhile Morné Steyn is responding well to treatment for his back spasm injury and it looks likely that he’ll also be ready for Sunday’s match.

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South AfricaA barrage of news and speculation greets us early on a Monday morning after a power game against Wales by the Springboks, this past weekend.

Firstly, the match analysis… reports indicating that Team Management and leaders in the side are lauding Fourie du Preez for his Man Of The Match performance against Wales.

Secondly, it appears that the injury to Bok flyhalf Morné Steyn, who had to leave the field after only 18 minutes in the game is not serious, with a troublesome back spasm picked up in the pre-game warm-up blamed and the player taken off to prevent real injury.

Thirdly, with 1 win under the belt and 2 games remaining, the next one being against Scotland on Sunday, speculation is rife whether Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer will rest some weary players and pick a hand full of other players, to test new combinations against what should be South Africa’s weakest opposition on tour.

We will discuss the above under seperate headings below:

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South AfricaIt was a balmy Brisbane which greeted the Springboks on Sunday evening (Australian time) after a trip of more than 20 hours that started in Johannesburg on Saturday afternoon, included a stopover in Sydney and ended at their hotel in the Queensland capital.

The Springboks face Australia in the third round of The Castle Lager Rugby Championship at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday. Although the South Africans have not beaten the hosts at this venue in a Test, they will approach the game with a quiet confidence after two good wins over Argentina last month.

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South AfricaThere was much annoyance among Springbok fans when it was announced not long before South Africa’s test match against Argentina in the Rugby Championship that the release of Bryan Habana was required by his new club Toulon.  This increased even more when it came to light that five of the players in the current Springbok Squad for the Rugby Championship were being ‘released’ to go back to their clubs in France while the rest of the players would return for a break to South Africa.

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Morné SteynSouth African international flyhalf Morne Steyn revealed he would only start on the bench for Stade Francais in Friday’s Top 14 clash with Biarritz.

The 29-year-old – capped 47 times – only arrived from Argentina on Monday after helping the Springboks beat the Pumas 22-17 in a Four Nations Test.

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BullsThis article is written by a worried Bulls supporter. The heading could just as well read “Wake up Frans Ludeke” or “Frans fall on your sword please and save us this embarrassment”.

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