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Morne Steyn dumped as Boks opt for Goosen

Date

David Legge

Johan Goosen.

Johan Goosen. Photo: Getty Images

JOHANNESBURG: The fairytale rise of 20-year-old fly-half Johan Goosen continued Wednesday when he was named in the South Africa starting line-up for a Rugby Championship Test against Australia.

Goosen faces the Wallabies in Pretoria Saturday after making his senior debut only last year in the domestic Currie Cup championship for the Free State Cheetahs and playing Super 15 rugby union for the first time this year.

But as one-time golden boy Morne Steyn suffered a place-kicking slump that culminated in him missing four of five shots at goal in a 21-11 loss to New Zealand this month, the media and public clamour for Goosen intensified.

Steyn, famous for his halfway-line penalty that sealed a Test series against the 2009 British and Irish Lions, does not even make the bench with another rising star, Golden Lion Elton Jantjies, covering Goosen.

A criticism of 28-year-old Blue Bull Steyn was that he often lay too deep at set pieces and in broken play, restricting the chances of the Springboks crossing the gain line.

His field kicking also left much to desired at times in recent Tests, squandering hard-won possession by booting the ball too far ahead of chasing team-mates and gifting the ball to opponents.

It has been a meteoric rise for Goosen, who injured his shoulder against Otago Highlanders in the Super 15 and played only one Currie Cup match on his return before being promoted to the Springbok squad.

He came off the bench in the away losses to the Wallabies and All Blacks and gets his big chance in a match that could determine who finishes second behind runaway leaders New Zealand.

The All Blacks have 16 points, the Wallabies eight, the Springboks seven and new boys Argentina three with two rounds left of the expanded southern hemisphere championship.

"I have maintained from the outset that I will not rush Johan, but I feel he is now ready to start a Test and I am excited to see what he can bring," said Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer.

"Morne has played close to 140 matches at Test, Super 15 and Currie Cup level in the last four seasons and probably deserves a break. Morne is a fighter and I know he will bounce back."

Goosen is one of three definite changes to the team beaten in Dunedin with Eben Etzebeth, available again after a ban for threatening to head butt Australian Nathan Sharpe, and Andries Bekker recalled.

They replace Flip van der Merwe, who drops to the bench, and Juandre Kruger. Losing five of their throws against the All Blacks played a part in the decision.

There could be a fourth change if inside centre Francois Steyn fails to recover from an ankle injury, with new squad inclusion Jaco Taute from the Golden Lions on stand-by.

Australia name their team Thursday with most interest in whether Berrick Barnes or Kurtley Beale is chosen at fly-half in the absence of injured Quade Cooper.

South Africa: Zane Kirchner; Bryan Habana, Jean de Villiers (capt), Francois Steyn or Jaco Taute, Francois Hougaard; Johan Goosen, Ruan Pienaar; Duane Vermeulen, Willem Alberts, Francois Louw; Andries Bekker, Eben Etzebeth; Jannie du Plessis, Adriaan Strauss, Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: Tiaan Liebenberg, Coenie Oosthuizen, Flip van der Merwe, Marcell Coetzee, Elton Jantjies, Jaco Taute or Juan de Jongh, Patrick Lambie

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Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00Olym
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00Olym
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
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SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45Olym
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
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SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45Olym
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
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AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
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ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
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Team P W L D +/- Pts
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Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
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