FILE - Springbok players Brian Habana and Morne Steyn take a selfie with fans during the Springboks send off ahead of the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Photo: Paballo Thekiso
FILE - Springbok players Brian Habana and Morne Steyn take a selfie with fans during the Springboks send off ahead of the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Photo: Paballo Thekiso

‘Simply the best’: Bryan Habana, Peter de Villiers, John Smit pay tribute to Morné Steyn

By Ashfak Mohamed Time of article published Oct 20, 2021

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Cape Town – While Bryan Habana called Morné Steyn “simply the best”, former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers shared a photo of working with him ahead of the Under-21 World Cup in paying tribute to the flyhalf upon his Test retirement.

The 37-year-old Steyn hung up his Bok boots for good on Tuesday, as he wants to spend more time with his family – although he will continue to play for the Bulls for a few more years.

He had a glittering international record, scoring 742 points in 68 Test matches, the last of which came against Argentina in the Rugby Championship in Gqeberha in August.

ALSO READ: Morne Steyn has been a great servant to SA rugby, says Boks coach Jacques Nienaber

But Steyn will be best remembered for his two decisive penalties against the British and Irish Lions 12 years apart – kicking the winning three-pointer at Loftus Versfeld in 2009 and again in 2021 at Cape Town Stadium.

He won some serious silverware too, with a Tri-Nations title, three Super Rugby crowns, two Currie Cups, a French Top 14 trophy and of course the two Lions series wins under his belt.

“#SimplyTheBest!!!!! What a guy, what player, what a legend!! @mornesteyn congratulations on an incredible international career with @Springboks!! Grateful to have been with you through so many memories and to have witnessed from close quarters so many more incredible ones!!” former Bok and Bulls wing Habana posted on Twitter.

Ex-Bok captain John Smit added: “Congrats @mornesteyn on an incredible career boykie!!! You made choosing posts pretty easy for a captain!!!”

De Villiers worked with Steyn as a junior, when he coached the SA Under-21 to victory at the 2005 World Cup. The former Bok coach posted a picture on Twitter of him chatting to Steyn at the time, with the caption: “Congratulations on a hugely successful International career @mornesteyn. You provided so many @Springboks fans memories that will last a lifetime. Good luck with the rest of your @BlueBullsRugby career. (Photo) from 2005 when you kicked us to the U21 RWC, just the 68 points...”

Current Bok flyhalf Handre Pollard said on Instagram: “Congrats on an amazing career @mornesteyn. One of the true greats on and off the field. You will be missed”, while scrumhalf Cobus Reinach posted: “What an absolute legend. Well done op n (on an) amazing career @mornesteyn.”

Former Bok and Bulls No 8 Pierre Spies simply said: “Awesome career @mornesteyn.”

Bok coach Jacques Nienaber thank Steyn for his services to the national team, and understood why the pivot did not want to continue at international level – especially due to the strict Covid-19 bio-bubbles – while he also spent five weeks on tour in Australia recently without getting any game time.

Steyn scored eight tries, 102 conversions, 156 penalties and 10 drop goals for the Boks, and is the second-highest points-scorer for South Africa on 742 in 68 Tests, behind Percy Montgomery’s 893 in 102 matches.

“What can you say about Morné! He has been such a great servant to South African rugby and he is a brilliant rugby player. Firstly, hats off to him because of what he has delivered on the rugby field,” Nienaber said.

“Just the little bit of magic that he created in terms of the contest with the British and Irish Lions, beating them twice in the specific manner that he did, it just speaks volumes of the guy on the rugby field.

“Off the rugby field, he was phenomenal. Working with him in these last 20 weeks, he always contributed, always helped paint the big picture, always helped prepare the team. He was never scared to give his wisdom over to the younger players.

“There are volumes that I can talk about regarding him. We respect his decision and wish him well, and like I said, what a fantastic guy, not just a fantastic rugby player, but a fantastic guy off the field and as a person.”

@ashfakmohamed

IOL Sport

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