Rugby - Steyn proves hard work trumps talent, says coach Meyer

South Africa flyhalf Morne Steyn will run out against Australia for his 50th cap on Saturday the epitome of a player who has made up for a lack of natural talent with application and dedication.

Reuters
Rugby - Steyn proves hard work trumps talent, says coach Meyer
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Morne Steyn booted South Africa to victory

"I have coached Morne for 10 years now and I remember when he first arrived at the Blue Bulls he was an ordinary talent," Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer told reporters on Thursday.

"He is a great example of hard work beating talent. He has such an unbelievable work ethic. He always trains 100 percent and then spends time afterwards taking extra kicks at the posts.

"He has epitomised what I would like to see from a player in this team. If he has missed one training session in 10 years, I don't know about it."

Meyer first coached Steyn when he emerged at the Blue Bulls franchise as a teenager in 2003 showing no signs he would go on to become one of the leading flyhalves in the game.

But fast-forward a decade and the 29-year-old has three Super Rugby titles to his name and is the holder of a number of national team records as he prepares to face Australia in a Rugby Championship clash at Newlands.

Meyer said Steyn had adjusted his skill-set to make a career out of rugby, focusing on the art of kicking when other aspects of his game fell short.

"This is also a guy who didn't even kick for his school team or initially his provincial team either - he's an inspiration to many kids out there for demonstrating how it's not always the best guy who makes it but the one who works the hardest," Meyer added.

"He's won lots of test matches for his country... I hope he can play another 50 games for South Africa."

Steyn, who famously scored all his team's points in a 31-19 victory over New Zealand in Durban that helped South Africa to the 2009 Tri-Nations trophy, said his finest moment as an international came in just his second appearance for the side.

Ruan Pienaar had been preferred at flyhalf by then Bok coach Pieter de Villiers against the British & Irish Lions at Loftus Versfeld in 2009, but when he missed a number of gettable kicks, was replaced off the bench by the less mobile Steyn.

The rookie international landed two conversions and two penalties, including one from his own half in the dying seconds that handed the Springboks a narrow victory.

"There have been a couple of special matches but the Lions game at Loftus is right up there," Steyn reflected. "It was a huge match to play in and to win it that way is something that stays with you."

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