Lions slayer ready for Scottish challenge
SPOTLIGHT: The arrival of South Africa’s ultimate ‘Lions slayer’, seasoned flyhalf Morné Steyn, could not have come at a better time for the Bulls.
Steyn, 37, had his first training session with the Bulls in the build-up to their United Rugby Championship Round Four encounter with Edinburgh on Saturday.
His arrival in the Scottish capital coincided with the announcement that 17 Edinburgh players have been named in the 36-man Scotland squad for a two-day training camp.
The squad selection by Scotland coach Gregor Townsend sees nine Edinburgh forwards named in the group and eight backs.
This includes uncapped former Bulls prop Pierre Schoeman and utility back Henry Immelman, who featured at fullback against the Stormers last week.
Other South Africans in the Edinburgh squad included Luan de Bruin, Boan Venter and veteran prop Willem Nel – capped 37 times by Scotland, but not in the current squad.
However, the most significant of the South Africans in the Edinburgh line-up is one-time Scottish Test player Jaco van der Walt – a key man at flyhalf in the 20-all draw with the Stormers last week.
Van der Walt played his only Test for Scotland against Ireland in Dublin in December 2020.
If Steyn starts or comes off the bench, he will bring the experience of 68 Tests – between June 2009 (when he made his debut against the British and Irish Lions) and August 7 this year, when he again kicked the series-winning penalty against the B&I Lions.
Steyn also has 340-odd first-class matches to his credit, for the Bulls and Stade Français.
Steyn spoke about the ‘new’ challenge in Europe and said the Bulls are looking to build on last week’s 29-19 come-from-behind win over Cardiff.
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“Hopefully we can finish the tour on a high,” he added.
Steyn said the South African teams are beginning to adjust to the Northern Hemisphere referees.
“Going forward it will be much better for South African teams.
“Just looking forward to a big game against Edinburgh on Saturday.”
An intriguing game awaits in Edinburgh.
Before last weekend’s draw with the Stormers, the Scottish franchise had won all four games against South African opposition.
They will again rely heavily on their big South African contingent to counter the Bulls’ physicality.