Is Morne simply mentally and physically drained?
June 27, 2012, 12:07:19
Despite fears that mental fatigue may be behind Springbok pivot Morne Steyn’s recent lapse in form, the Vodacom Bulls will continue to back him and he will start against the Cheetahs this Saturday at Loftus Versfeld.
Steyn didn’t have his best test match in Port Elizabeth and was booed by the crowd in the wind and rain, but will need to use these next few weeks back in Vodacom Super Rugby to find his feet again and regain his form.
Bok coach Heyneke Meyer is set to retain his points machine for the Castle Rugby Championship and said at the weekend that Steyn needs to find his form again in Super Rugby.
Yet, with Steyn hardly ever an injury concern, there is a worry that he has played too much rugby without a break, having racked up a massive 103 games since joining the Springboks for their test series against the British and Irish Lions in 2009.
That includes no fewer than 37 test matches – Steyn missed just two tests in the Green and Gold, and just one in the Bulls jersey in four seasons of non-stop rugby, making one question the way he is being managed. (This does give an insight into what is happening - he has played FAR too much rugby - very bad player management!!!!!!)
Those who booed him in the test match have short memories, as Steyn a year ago almost single-handedly beat the All Blacks with an 18-point haul in similarly poor conditions, and has racked up an impressive list of records whenever he dons the Springbok jersey.
He is currently the fastest player to 100, 200, 300 and 400 points in a Bok jersey and holds several world records in rugby as well with his deadly boot, including 41 consecutive penalty successes.(BUT according to some his kicking woes cant be solved)
But it is true that Steyn is currently going through a challenging time, and while he tried to vary his play more in the England series, and varied it well in the opening two tests, he needed to be more controlled in the third test and play a more dominant flyhalf role.
Since 2009 Steyn had only one break while playing for the Bulls – when the Pretoria franchise sent down a B side to Newlands in 2010. Before that game he had played 33 consecutive games for the Bulls, and since then another 24 without a break. This year he has played in every single Bulls game in Super Rugby as well.
But instead of giving him a mental break and some time away from rugby, the Bulls believe his game is better served by working through the faults, and by playing him more, as coach Frans Ludeke confirmed on Tuesday.
ON TOP OF THE SITUATION
“We’re not worried, we know Morne and what he is capable of. He may have missed one or two kicks, but we know his ability,” Ludeke said.
“He has been in a situation like this before and he has worked through it. We back him totally to regain his confidence and he knows the areas he needs to work on.”
Steyn spent another of his long sessions after practice this week working on his technique, and when it comes to commitment, he certainly hasn’t shirked his duty.
Ludeke believes it would be unfair to call it mental fatigue, but the truth is that at such a crucial stage in the season, the Bulls can ill afford to lose his boot as they vie for a spot in the playoffs.
“There is another way to look at, sometimes things don’t always go to plan, and life isn’t plain sailing. You get patches like this and you need to work through it. Nobody can sort it out except you. Morne has an amazing work ethic and it is a small thing that he needs to work through,” Ludeke explained.
“To pin it down to mental fatigue would be unfair. He is on top of the situation, and he knows what he needs to do. He simply needs to bounce back. He has missed kicks and then landed crucial ones from the corner, so his ability is not in question.
“I think people miss the consistency of the last three or four years, where he was slotting every kick. We are confident he will find his form again.”
Ludeke’s approach may be a bit different from what the public might like, but he is confident Steyn will be on top form again soon.
“Normally we don’t make too big an issue on these things, we like to work with a positive mindset and we know what he can do. We must back him now – he needs our backing.”
Well whatever the case do not take him on the year end tour - ditto some other senior players. Cant believe anything but that Morne HAS been overplayed.