Steyn to start for Bulls

Flyhalf Morné Steyn is likely to make his Super 14 starting debut for the Bulls against the Chiefs on Saturday in the wake of the ankle injury to incumbent pivot Derick Hougaard.

The forgotten No 10 is set to start at flyhalf when the Bulls take on the Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday, the Pretoria News reported on Monday. The match is shaping as a crucial encounter if the Bulls hope to challenge for a play-off spot and nothing less than a win will suffice for the Bully Boys at this stage of the season.

It’s perhaps a bit hard to believe that a talented player like Steyn has been sitting on the sidelines in the tournament, but the form of Hougaard has kept him firmly rooted to the bench.

Now that Hougaard is struggling with an ankle injury, coach Heyneke Meyer is set to give the 21-year-old his first start of the season. Steyn will give the backline a bit more width but he lacks the critical dead-shot boot of Hougaard, which has been crucial for the Pretoria side this season.

Hougaard’s two missed penalties – which proved to be costly – were his first blemish on an otherwise impeccable record this season. He will undergo a fitness test on Monday. “We want to give Derick a decent chance to make it,” Meyer said.

“At the moment he has about an 80% chance of playing. But having said that I also want to give Morne a chance to play at some stage. There are still a lot of games left and a lot more rugby to play and we need to have both guys at their peak for the final part of the season.”

The other walking wounded – hooker Gary Botha (rib injury), Pedrie Wannenburg (shoulder) and Jacques Cronje (shoulder) – should all be ready to take their places in the side this weekend.

Interestingly, the Bulls have not decided to fly in a replacement for Johan Roets as they had said they would last weekend. Riaan van der Bergh is still out injured and Meyer does not seem to have confidence in Hennie Daniller at the moment to give him a go.

“His knee has improved, and it looks as if he will play,” Meyer added. “We’re not flying anyone in at this stage.”