Habana: French a lot smarter

2010-06-10 07:42

Stephen Nell

Cape Town – Forget the old cliché of French flair. France are a tactically smart side these days and that is what will make them such dangerous opponents at Newlands on Saturday, warns Bryan Habana.

“There is a perception that the French throw the ball around and run from everywhere, but that is not the case. They are very physical and have become a lot smarter in their tactical approach,” said the Springbok left wing.

“They have outside backs that count among the best in the world, but are now a good all-round side and not one that simply throws the ball around and hopes for the ball to bounce for them.”

While outstanding players such as No 8 Imanol Harinordoquay, hooker William Servat, lock Sebastien Chabal and centres Mathieu Bastareaud and Yannick Jauzion are not available, Habana still knows what to expect from the French.

“You didn’t always know which French side would pitch up, but these days it’s a team with players that have not just showed what they can do in the Heineken Cup, but also won the Six Nations and have performed well against the Southern Hemisphere’s top sides. We last managed to beat the French in 2005,” said Habana.

“The way in which they played the last few years places them close to the top three nations in world rugby.”

South Africa have lost their tactical trump card in Fourie du Preez at scrumhalf, but Habana believes the focus should not be on replacing him.

“You can’t replace someone who is the best player in world rugby in my view,” he said.

“Ricky Januarie can grab the opportunity and reach the form that saw him score the winning try in Dunedin in 1998.”

Habana and Co are also prepared for a possible aerial attack from the French halfback pairing of Morgan Parra and Francois Trinh-Duc. He has full confidence in Gio Aplon and Zane Kirchner.

“Gio deserves his chance after stepping up in the Super14, while Zane is one of South Africa’s most consistent fullbacks.”


  • BALSAK(alias Blue Bul Hater) - 2010-06-10 07:47

    Can South Africans please APPRECIATE this SUPER STAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Never again will the world see such a WONDERFUL LEFT WING. The BEST EVER!!! Habana and Ricky January for LIFE!!!!

  • Piet Parow - 2010-06-10 07:56

    “Ricky Januarie can grab the opportunity and reach the form that saw him score the winning try in Dunedin in 1998.” Ricky was still in school in 1998.

  • BOKBOK - 2010-06-10 08:07

    So Januarie been around simce 1998...and it shows ...should'nt even be in the squad ...let alone starting !!

  • ASH - 2010-06-10 08:11


  • Jan - 2010-06-10 08:14

    You better hope they throw the ball around otherwise you won't get a chance to intercept. And if that doesn't happen you'll probably be seen amongst the forwards trying to look the part. You better step up and be the player you were 2/3 years ago, Bryan. Don't become one-dimensional and be labeled as an opportunist. Be smart and take part! Go Bokke!!!

  • no cups..?? - 2010-06-10 08:19

    ...still no Cups for the stormbarians, Bryan..?? ....He he he he..!!

  • BC - 2010-06-10 08:22

    I think you mean when Januarie scored the winning try in Dunedin in 2008 - not 1998, Stephen. Springboks didn't play the All Blacks in Dunedin in 1998, the played in Wellington and Durban.

  • Tank - 2010-06-10 08:26

    Hou op praat en kom ons speel rugby

  • Laeveld Stormer - 2010-06-10 08:46

    Yes BC, it was indeed 2008. Bad mistake Stephen, if a date that could not possibly be mistaken was incorrect in your article, how can we believe anything else you write of which we do not know the facts? Think about it. With that said, I hope we pitch on saturday. If Div picked the strongest side he possibly could, I would be more relaxed... but he hasn't. GO BOKKE!

  • al - 2010-06-10 08:50

    1998! Go Ricky you ancient gnome...

  • I'VE HAD ENOUGH - 2010-06-10 08:51

    January can be slow at times, but overall he is a worthy Springbok. So, SILENCE critics. And I agree with BALSAK above (even though he's hates the bulls), Habana is a legend and stands head and shoulders above any other wing in the country. He is limited by his team and gameplan.

  • Deneal B - 2010-06-10 08:56


  • Gert - 2010-06-10 09:13

    @no cups - hahahahahaha - You are so bleddie funny - Get a life man

  • Bokke Bo - 2010-06-10 09:46

    I think if 1998 was a burger....Januarie would eat it!!

  • BULLE BO - 2010-06-10 09:49


  • STORMER - 2010-06-10 09:53

    Ricky has NEVER let the Bok team down when wearing the green and gold...He is one of those players who shines at international level...unlike Meisiekind and Kirchner (who only shine in Blue.....)

  • STORMER - 2010-06-10 09:56

    Ricky has NEVER let the Bok team down when wearing the green and gold...He is one of those players who shines at international level...unlike Meisiekind and Kirchner (who only shine in Blue.....)

  • brad k - 2010-06-10 10:02

    thats explains why Mr. No.9 is so sloww. he be old YO!

  • Harding - 2010-06-10 10:35

    Springboks MIA. Brussow. Du Preez. Botha. Du Plesis. Steyn. DeVilliers (bench -noted:) So Really, this is a 65-70 percent strength side that should still be able to klap the French, considering they also miss a player here and there and , of coarse because we owe them a hiding...

  • scrum cap - 2010-06-10 10:56

    @ Piet Parrow. No he wasn't still in school in 1998,he was expelled the year before!!

  • Jakes - 2010-06-10 11:59

    Januarie is not the best after Du Preez. Fullstop. He slows down the ball, is always in the scrum and not behind it, and time moves on, he was Ok a couple of years back, but not anymore. Time to hang up his boots and walking stick.

  • Swannie - 2010-06-10 12:02

    Harding - also missing Beast, CJ, Andies Bekker, Juan Smith, JP Pietersen(although he wasnt on form and injured). that's a lot of players missing from the squad of 22!

  • Raka13 - 2010-06-10 12:03

    RE:No Cups..?? Is there nothing that you can say that makes your statement a bit more interesting? This has no value to any reader? No Cups.... your name should actualy be, no brain. Go Bokke!!!!

  • @Raka13 - 2010-06-10 12:24

    @Raka13, ...I know its difficult for you to understand, ....because you are a stormbarian supporter...?? ...ask somebody to explain...

  • GBES - 2010-06-10 12:48

    I think our team will beat the French for the 1st time since 2005 ! 25-16 to our Springboks.Ricky deserves his chance and is an excellent Stormer.Watch this space.PdV has won my trust,even though he is a grammatical machine of biblical proportions.Miskien moet hy hou by Afrikaans,en de hel met "overseas listeners".Our scrum will not fold again because our coaches woke up to fact that European players actually "like" to scrum.

  • Dronkie - 2010-06-10 12:54

    Ek gee nie om wie speel nie...solank hulle wen.!!! GO Bokke

  • Lefty - 2010-06-10 13:10

    Ag nee wat Habana , moenie nou al verskonings soek nie . Ons het n baie gevaarlike agterlyn met n goeie pak voorspelers . Steyn ons op die voorvoet hou gaan ons die franse wegblaas . Hulle moet kry wat hulle toekom na 2009 , hulle is n klomp vuilgatte . GO BOKKE !!!

  • labrat - 2010-06-10 14:30

    Play Cocket - January is as tough as they come but his style is not part of the new game. We all know why he is in the team.

  • Bokfan4eva - 2010-06-10 15:02

    The French better make mistakes...and Morne better have his boots on ! If they are as physical as they were last year, we are in K@k...They pushed n pulled the Boks(kind of Bok- B-teamers id say) all over the place..was like a Provincial side playing a high school first team.. Bakkies and Fourie will be soreloy missed..If we gel as a unit we can do it..toguh game on the way.. Go Bokke!

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