It’s been said that legends never die and that class is permanent. 37-year old Morne Steyn proved those sporting cliches to be correct in his case after calmly nailing almost identical series-winning kicks 12 years apart to beat the Lions.
As another Lions tour draws to a close, the experts have already started picking over the bones from a series that was or what should have been. With regards to Lions selection, there’s certainly no shortage of opinions.
However, in the Springbok camp, Jacques Nienaber and Rassie Erasmus look every bit the genius for their inclusion of veteran Morne Steyn. Given the historical tactics and brutality of a Lions series in South Africa, goal-kicking was always going to be a premium.
“I’m happy for him in terms of having the opportunity to play again. It’s a fairy-tale 12 years on.” said Nienaber.
“Morne’s selection was an hour-long discussion from the coaches between the two players (Steyn and Jantjies). But we felt his experience in this particular environment was the key.”
Even though his last Test was in 2016, Steyn’s recent form proved his selection to be justified. Perhaps the most cold-blooded kicker in history was resurrected to tame the Lions once again.
Speaking of the historic moment, Steyn said:
“Yeah, just to be part of this whole series 12 years later again is an amazing feeling.
“To get that final kick, almost in the same position but just a bit closer for the old legs was nice. Luckily it went over again too. It’s a great day for South African rugby.
“As a kicker, you live for special occasions like this one.
“You put in all the hard work during the week and during your whole career for kicks like that. You always dream of that one kick to win a game or a series. Luckily, it paid off today.
“I never expected playing for the Springboks again, even after returning from France after six years. But it went well at the Bulls and I had the opportunity to play.
“At the moment, I’m just taking things year by year. As long as I can play for the Springboks, I’ll never say no to them. If they want to pick me, I’ll be available.”
A RugbyPass Fanzone panel of former players correctly predicted Steyn would win the match: