Steyne axed for Australian Test
South Africa have axed out-of-form five-eighth Morne Steyn and handed Johan Goosen his first Test start for the Rugby Championship battle with Australia in Pretoria on Saturday.
The inclusion of the 20-year-old Cheetahs No.10 is one of three changes to the line-up that was beaten by New Zealand in Dunedin in their last match.
Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer said it was a difficult decision to drop Steyn, especially because he was back on his home turf at Loftus Versfeld where his goal-kicking had proven so valuable.
It deserted him in the Dunedin Test, missing 11 points worth of kicks.
“Especially at Loftus it is a big call,” Meyer said.
“I just feel that it’s in his best interest and that of the team that he doesn’t play.
“He’s an unbelievable character and a champion and he took it graciously and I know he will be back.”
He said he considered including Steyn on the bench but didn’t think it would help his battered confidence if he came on in the last 20 minutes and the result hung on his contribution.
While Goosen offers South Africa more flair in attack, Meyer warned not to expect match-winning heroics.
“People must be realistic and not expect a 20-year-old to come in and win the game and score five tries, although I would love that,” Meyer said.
Injured inside centre Frans Steyn has been bracketed with Jaco Taute and should he fail a final fitness test on his ankle at their final training session, Taute will make his debut.
He will play at outside centre with skipper Jean de Villiers moving to No.12 to split the two youngsters.
Meyer said Frans Steyn had re-injured the ankle running at their most recent training session and would only play if he was 100 per cent right.
Among the other changes Eben Etzebeth and Andries Bekker are the new lock combination.
Etzebeth returns after missing the previous Test because of a suspension.
Meyer also made four changes on the bench, where Coenie Oosthuizen, Flip van der Merwe, Elton Jantjies and Taute have been included.
© AAP 2013
South Africa: Zane Kirchner, Bryan Habana, Jean de Villiers (capt), Francois Steyn/Jaco Taute, Francois Hougaard, Johan Goosen, Ruan Pienaar, Duane Vermeulen, Willem Alberts, Francois Louw, Andries Bekker, Eben Etzebeth, Jannie du Plessis, Andries Strauss, Tendai Mtawarira. Res: Tiaan Liebenberg, Coenie Oosthuizen, Flip van der Merwe, Marcell Coetzee, Elton Jantjies, Jaco Taute/Juan de Jongh, Patrick Lambie.