Koen backs Steyn to bounce back
Springbok kicking consultant Louis Koen is convinced that Morne Steyn's Test career is not over and has backed the flyhalf to boot his critics into touch.
Steyn has struggled with his goal-kicking this year and was replaced in the starting line-up for the Test against Australia last week by young Johan Goosen who poses more of an attacking threat.
However, Koen believes that Steyn still has a major role to play for the national team once he regains his confidence at provincial level.
"I believe with all my heart that Morne will be back," Koen said.
"Maybe he just needs that opportunity to get that self-confidence back in an environment where he can be calmer and the pressure a little bit less.
"I cannot speak on behalf of the coach but I believe a guy like Morne can still play a big role in SA rugby," he added.
Koen believes that Steyn's issues are purely psychological rather than technical, as he has been in good form on the training pitch.
"I think Morne has shown on the practice field that his technique is fantastic," the former Bok flyhalf said.
"He kicks at an 88 percent ratio at practices, that is very good over a period of nine weeks. I think Morne's situation is much more psychological, I am not an expert on the psychological side of things."
Steyn has not been the only Springbok goal-kicker to struggle off the tee this year, and Koen admitted that he was puzzled by the inconsistency as the players are all delivering the goods at training.
"It's more of a frustration and a disappointment at this stage.
"The reason for that is because we work so hard and the players are getting unbelievable results on the practice field.
"They are also very consistent (in training). I believe in the process that I am following and the exercises that we are doing and I am sure that the results will take care of themselves. I am not a person who will change what I am doing," he said.
Koen said he was reluctant to modify the kickers' technique and was still hesitant to send a message to the players on the field to change anything.
"I have only been with the players for a few weeks so it is going to take time to establish a good relationship with them and get the ground of their technique," he said.
"I always said I want to be in a place where if a guy struggles in a match like Morne (Steyn) did I want to give positive input so he can get it right at that moment."
The Springboks' loss to New Zealand in the first Test in Dunedin was where kicking was particularly poor as they left 22 points on the board because of missed attempts at goal.
Over eight games since the start of the June international series against England, the side have only succeeded with 40 out of 69 kicks at goal, with an overall success rate of 58 percent between all kickers.
Koen said the kickers have been more accurate in terms of their tactical kicking with the exception of the Dunedin Test.
"We work out every kick in a game and we work on whether there was a positive or negative outcome," he said.
"So to explain that if we kick a box kick we measure if we got the ball back and if we don't get it back, we measure if we gained territory and relieved pressure."