But for two final-minute heart-breaking defeats, Siya Kolisi’s world champions would have been a carbon copy of John Smit’s world champion Springboks. The results are eerily similar and, 13 years apart, so is Frans Steyn’s influence in both Bok teams, writes Mark Keohane.
The only difference is that Kolisi’s Springboks did not win the 2021 Rugby Championship title, whereas Smit’s world champions secured the Tri Nations with a thrilling victory against the All Blacks in Hamilton, New Zealand.
Frans Steyn’s monster boot was pivotal to the Springboks win in Hamilton in 2009 and 13 years later his boot was as influential in the outcome of the Test. Steyn, in 2009, kicked three monster range penalties and in 2021 it was his linekicks that turned defence into attack and set South Africa up for a match-winning finale.
The similarities I speak of are that Smit’s team won the World Cup in 2007 and Kolisi’s team won the World Cup in 2019. Both won away from home.
In 2009, Smit’s Boks won the series against the British & Irish Lions thanks to a last minute penalty from Morne Steyn. In 2021, Kolisi’s Boks won the series against the Lions thanks to a last minute penalty from Morne Steyn.
Smit’s 2009 Boks then lost to the Wallabies by 15 points (21-6) at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane and beat the All Blacks 32-29 in Hamilton. Kolisi’s Boks lost to the Wallabies by 13 points (30-17) at the very same Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane and would finish the Championship with a pulsating 31-29 win against the All Blacks.
In the build-up to the Lions series, I wrote that Morne Steyn would play a role in winning the series and I similarly applauded Frans Steyn’s inclusion in the match 23 for the tests against the All Blacks, writing that the fairytale was about to happen and that Steyn would deliver with his boot, as his namesake (Morne) did against the Lions.
The only thing was that I envisaged Frans Steyn’s kicking to be in the form of three pointers and not line-kicks that set up the match-winning three pointers.
But his kicks did the job and the stars most certainly aligned when it came to beating the Lions in a series and beating the All Blacks in the same year.
— Springboks (@Springboks) October 2, 2021
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