Habana expecting spicy clash

Tue, 20 Sep 2011 00:00
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Springbok wing Bryan Habana expects the intensity of Thursday's World Cup match against Namibia to be no different to a traditional Currie Cup clash on South African soil.

Springbok wing Bryan Habana expects the intensity of Thursday's World Cup match against Namibia to be no different to a traditional Currie Cup clash on South African soil.

"Namibia this week will be like a typical Currie Cup clash between guys that know each other and really go out to bruise each other," Habana said.

Habana was the player of the 2007 World Cup in France, scoring eight tries thanks to his blistering speed and devastating finishing, but his form has dropped off significantly in the last few years.

The prolific try-scorer has lost some of the pace that made him such an attacking threat and he will be eager to prove that he still has plenty to offer, as some have questioned whether he deserves his place in the first-choice team ahead of the electric Francois Hougaard who has impressed every time he has come on as a replacement.

The celebrated wing will make his comeback from a knee injury in the Springboks' third match of the tournament, and will be hoping that a game against the weakest opposition the Boks will face at the World Cup can help him rediscover his try-scoring form.

Habana said he remained open to the possibility of breaking Joost van der Westhuizen's try-scoring record, which he equalled against Italy in Witbank last year.

"If that 39th try comes, it comes, but if the Springboks win 150-0 without me scoring a try and I've contributed, I'm definitely still going to be very happy," he said.

"Whether that be about leadership, whether that be about scoring tries or making cross cover defence tackles it's about making a contribution," he explained.

Habana admitted to being disappointed that he was not part of the team that secured a 49-3 victory over Fiji last week. He said he was now more eager to make his contribution.

"It was probably the right decision not to get chosen last week and after training yesterday in front of an almost full stadium it feels good to be back again," he said.

"The rehabilitation time that you put in with the physios, the medical team and the conditioning guys and then getting onto the field and making sure you get involved in the game is pretty important," added Habana.

With only two matches remaining before the knock-out stages of the tournament, Habana said that gaining match fitness would be one of the personal goals he needed to achieve while there was still time.

"After only playing three games of international rugby prior to this it is not the best place to be, but I think your work on and off the field is pretty important," he said.

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