Flyhalf Morne Steyn still has a future with the Springboks despite being dropped after a disappointing start to the Rugby Championship, South Africa kicking coach Louis Koen said on Tuesday.
The Bulls flyhalf missed Saturday's 31-8 win over Australia and with 20-year-old Johan Goosen playing a key role in ending a five-match losing streak against the Wallabies, Steyn's critics believe his international career could be over.
However, Koen expects the 28-year-old to make a rapid return to favour in the face of increased competition from Goosen and Currie Cup-winning youngster Elton Jantjies.
"Morne has played a lot of rugby recently... for three years consecutively at a very high level, and the pressure was starting to build," Koen told reporters.
"Fatigue does definitely have an effect on kicking, but he has a sensational technique and he will be back, I believe that with my whole heart.
"I believe Morne will still be an integral player for the Springboks in the future."
Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer had been accused of putting too much faith in Steyn after the star of the 2009 and 2010 campaigns lost his kicking touch and struggled to spark the team on attack.
While the head coach may have finally lost patience and dropped the player, Koen said he had logged every practice kick the Springboks had taken this year and Steyn was the most consistent, succeeding on 88 percent of his 620 attempts.
The former Springbok flyhalf added that those statistics pointed to the disappointing performance being a result of a mental problem, although Koen admitted that he was "no expert on the mental side of things".
The Springboks face New Zealand in the final round of matches in the inaugural tournament in Johannesburg on Saturday, where a victory over the newly crowned champions would secure second place in the standings.
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