Cape Town - Springbok coach Allister Coetzee is happy to count on the experience of veteran wing Bryan Habana for the upcoming Rugby Championship.
Habana was included on the left wing for Saturday’s clash against Argentina in Nelspruit. Habana will run out in his 118th Test, while he was also confirmed as the team’s vice-captain.
“If you look at the backs and look at the number of caps - 153 in total - and you take Bryan’s 117, then we’re sitting with 36. It just shows how young the backline division is and we experienced that in the Irish Test series as well,” said Coetzee.
“So Bryan’s role is imperative. Firstly, he knows he has to perform, but secondly he has to make sure that he shares and imparts his knowledge to that young group of backline players.
“We’ve got Elton (Jantjies, flyhalf), who has to manage that backline, obviously with Bryan supporting all the time. And I think it’s invaluable, you don’t buy experience somewhere else.”
The Bok mentor has already noticed Habana’s value in training.
“In training this whole week, the way Bryan talks with the back three… when (Johan) Goosen’s got to go around, when the openside winger’s got to be up and when he is doing that cover role. It makes life easier, it gives direction, it gives clarity in the team and that’s invaluable and therefore Bryan is here,” said Coetzee.
Kick-off for Saturday’s clash at Mbombela Stadium is scheduled for 17:05.
15 Johan Goosen, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Jaco Kriel, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Juan de Jongh, 23, Jesse Kriel
15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Matías Orlando, 12 Juan Martín Hernández, 11 Manuel Montero, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martín Landajo, 8 Facundo Isa, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Matías Alemanno, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustín Creevy (captain), 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro
Substitutes: 16 Julián Montoya, 17 Felipe Arregui, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Javier Ortega Desio, 21 Tomás Cubelli, 22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 23 Ramiro Moyano