Steyn wows fans with 5-star play
SPRINGBOK flyhalf Morne Steyn brushed off recent criticism of his form by producing a superb all-round performance against Argentina on Saturday to underline his status as Heyneke Meyer's first-choice flyhalf.
Meyer stated last week that some players had the two matches against Argentina to prove their worth and earn their places for the remainder of the tournament.
Although he never mentioned anyone by name, it's clear Steyn - after an average Super rugby tournament - was on that list.
Not surprisingly, the proven match-winner responded with a strong performance in which he displayed not only his best goal-kicking form, but showed off his underrated distribution and tactical strengths as the Boks eased their way to a 27-6 win in their opening Four Nations match.
It was a performance of phlegmatic efficiency which again proved that when pressure is high, Steyn delivers.
He was arguably playing for his test future and he didn't miss a beat.
He landed five out of five shots at goal and three were from against the touchline, to take his haul to 464 points in only 38 tests.
But it was the way he ran the game, admittedly behind a pack on the front foot, that caught the eye.
Gone was the indecision and inaccuracy of previous weeks. What one saw was authority, clarity and slick execution.
Steyn must have known there was some pressure on him but he didn't let on after the match.
"I didn't feel like I had to prove something to people because I don't read what the newspapers are saying about my performances," Steyn said.
"The important thing for me is to listen to the right people and ignore what the media say.
"I then go and work hard off the field and hopefully it results in good performances on it."
Bok skipper Jean de Villiers had predicted that Steyn would have a superb game on the eve of the test and he was vindicated.
"The criticism against him was a little harsh in my opinion and, knowing the kind of character he is, I really felt that he would perform well today," De Villiers said.
"The only way to silence critics is putting up a good performance and he definitely did that."
Steyn's return to form is timely but whether Saturday's display was just a good day, or whether it's a sign that he's ready to resume the heights he achieved in 2009, will only become evident in the coming weeks.
But for now his place is secure and he can play with the freedom of knowing that he has the coach's backing and the public's patience.