Springboks ditch Steyn and tradition

PA Sport
Morne Steyn will not play for the Springboks when they play Australia at the weekend
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Morne Steyn will not play for the Springboks when they play Australia at the weekend

Coach Heyneke Meyer has ditched Morne Steyn in a dramatic break from South African rugby tradition.

Twenty-year-old Johan Goosen has taken Steyn's place in the side to play Australia in this weekend's Rugby Championship clash in Pretoria.

Steyn has been out of touch, even in his goal-kicking this year, and while Meyer and Steyn have a lengthy association with the Bulls in Super Rugby, the fact South Africa have performed below expectations in the Championship has necessitated the change.

Goosen's selection is one of three changes, with locks Andries Bekker and Eben Etzebeth also recalled, while there are concerns that an ankle injury may sideline Francois Steyn.

Goal and tactical kicking have been key elements in South African rugby throughout their history but Goosen has the potential, as does reserve Pat Lambie, to shift the emphasis in the Springbok game.

Meyer told keo.co.za that he expected Australia to try to run the Springboks off their feet. He said: "If you look at previous games on the Highveld, Australia have opened the game up from the start and I can't see them changing.

"They'll look to keep the ball in hand and we're expecting them to start with Kurtley Beale at fly-half to help move us around in the hope we'll tire. I like that because it gives us a chance to isolate them and get turnovers, which is a great platform to score tries from."

Meyer did not include Steyn in his reserves with Elton Jantjies as cover. "This was very difficult, but I look at what the team needed first and then at the impact on the individual," Meyer said. "At Loftus [Versfeld], where he has played well, it is a big call. But he [Steyn] accepted it graciously. I feel it is in his best interest that he doesn't play."

South Africa team to face Australia: Zane Kirchner; Bryan Habana, Jean de Villiers, Francois Steyn, Francois Hougaard; Johan Goosen, Ruan Pienaar; Tendai Mtawarira, Adriaan Strauss, Jannie du Plessis, Eben Etzebeth, Andries Bekker, Francois Louw, Willem Alberts, Duane Vermeulen.

Replacements: Tiaan Liebenberg, Coenie Oosthuizen, Flip van der Merwe, Marcell Coetzee, Elton Jantjies, Jaco Taute, Pat Lambie.

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