Meyer ponders healthy flyhalf conundrum
The Springbok coach has a conundrum over the crucial number 10 position.
JOHANNESBURG - At the start of the year Morne Steyn seemingly had a firm grip on the South Africa flyhalf jersey, but 10 months out from the World Cup coach Heyneke Meyer has a conundrum over the crucial number 10 position.
The emergence of junior world player of the year Handre Pollard, a return to fitness for the mercurial Johan Goosen and the fine form of current jersey-holder Pat Lambie leaves Meyer with a difficult selection problem.
Steyn has not played since his missed penalty-kick for touch against Australia in Perth during the Rugby Championship in September which allowed the Wallabies to score a last-minute try and win the game.
Usually reliable with the boot and the best goal-kicker of the four, Steyn has remained part of the squad but does not have the line-breaking ability of the others as Meyer seeks a more ball-in-hand approach.
Pollard is full of promise but lacks experience and had a poor game in the Boks' 29-15 loss to Ireland in the opening match of their northern hemisphere tour, allowing Lambie to start in the wins over England and Italy.
"It's a healthy competition, its great to have Handre, Morne and Johan all in the same squad. We're friends off the field and get along very well, so on the field we push each other and well work together," Lambie told reporters on Tuesday.
"It's great to have those players around to learn from and to grow with."
Goosen's natural attacking style enabled him to play at fullback in Italy, with Meyer keen to accommodate his skills in the side, even in a less familiar position.
Lambie's qualities are his tactical brain and ability to poke holes in the opponents' defensive line.
"As a flyhalf you have to be able to play a tactical game as well as take the line on and it's about knowing when the time is right to do both of those things," the 24-year-old said.
"It's something the coach is big on, he likes his flyhalves to take the ball to the line with front-foot ball."
The Boks end their northern hemisphere tour against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday, but are without Steyn who has returned to his French Top 14 side Stade Francais as the fixture falls outside the international test window.
Meyer will name his side on Wednesday.