Steyn reflects on kicking the winner with his 'old legs'
Veteran flyhalf Morne Steyn played down his historical heroics, after he kicked a late penalty to give South Africa a 19-16 win over the British and Irish Lions in Cape Town at the weekend and a 2-1 series triumph.
Steyn landed an injury-time penalty from his own half to give the Springboks an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series in 2009 and at the Cape Town Stadium this past weekend he stepped up in the 79th minute to land the winner.
Steyn, 37, replaced flyhalf Handre Pollard with 15 minutes remaining and the script was written for something special by the 67-times capped Bok No.10.
He showed the same poise as he did 12 years ago and even though the kick was much shorter, he looked every bit as assured as he did in 2009.
“To be part of this series 12 years later and to kick the final penalty from almost from the same position – just a bit closer for the old legs – was special,” Steyn told a virtual media briefing.
“Luckily it went over and it was a great day for South African rugby.”
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While Steyn was calm and composed, Bok coach Jacques Nienaber admitted he could not watch as the flyhalf slotted the late winner.
“I had my head down between my legs when he kicked that last penalty goal,” Nienaber told @rugby365com, when asked for his thoughts.
Steyn quipped that he was glad the 2021 kick was a bit closer, as his legs are getting a bit old.
“It’s been a while since 2009, so I can’t remember all the details,” he said of the series winner 12 years ago.
“But it was exactly the same situation – with the scores level and we had to get the winning kick to win the series.
“That kick [in 2009] was about 54 metres out and this one  closer to 25 metres,” he said of a kick that was actually 35 metres out.
“It was a bit better [easier] for the old legs.”
He said for a kicker it is about ‘special occasions’ like that.
“You put in the hard work in the week and during your career, for kicks like that.
“You always dream of that one kick to win a series, a game or a championship.”
He concluded by praising the Lord for keeping him relatively injury-free throughout his long career and being blessed with another opportunity.
Apart from his 67 international caps, Steyn also has 340-odd first-class games – 136 for Stade Français between 2013 and 2020, 135 Super Rugby games for the Bulls between 2005 and 2013 and 70 Currie Cup games for the Blue Bulls.
He said he will continue playing as long as he gets selected – taking it year by year.
“I came back [to South Africa] after six years in France and I didn’t expect to play for the Springboks again,” said Steyn.
“At the Bulls, I had the opportunity to play in the Currie Cup.
“But as long as I can play for the Boks I’ll always be available.”
* Picture credit: Orton Media Photo