Habana keen to impress at 13
Cape Town - Bryan Habana is eager to show his worth in the midfield when the Stormers tackle the Southern Kings in a pre-season friendly in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee on Wednesday surprised by picking Habana at outside centre, a position he hasn't played in since 2006.
Habana is the second Springbok wing to make the switch to centre in the last week after the Sharks played JP Pietersen there in a trial match last Friday.
But Habana is relishing the opportunity even though he admitted it's not his preferred position.
"Pretty excited to be back in 13. I started playing my professional rugby there at the Lions in 2004 and became a Springbok, so looking forward to the opportunity," Habana said via a video clip on the Stormers' Facebook page.
"I played there once in 2006 for the Boks and that didn't go too well, so hopefully I'll be able to make up this weekend," said Habana.
He was referring to the Springboks' centenary Test against Ireland at a windy Lansdowne Road in 2006, when the home team mastered the tricky conditions to outplay Jake White's Boks 32-15. On that cold November evening Jaco Pretorius and Frans Steyn did duty on the wings while Habana partnered Jean de Villiers in the midfield.
And Habana also expects a tough encounter against the Kings at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
"The Kings are a determined side and they want to show their worth, not only for SA Rugby but for the opportunity to play Super Rugby next year, so (it's) a big challenge for us."
Kings: 15 Tiger Mangweni, 14 Marcello Sampson, 13 Jaco Bekker, 12 Wayne Stevens, 11 Norman Nelson, 10 Shane Gates, 9 Falie Oelschig, 8 Luke Watson (captain), 7 Vleis Engelbrecht, 6 Mpho Mbiyozo, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Darron Nell, 3 Clint Newland, 2 Hannes Franklin, 1 Jaco Engels.
Substitutes: 16 Bobby Dyer, 17 Zane Killian, 18 Andre Schlechter, 19 Wayne van Heerden, 20 Reynier Bernardo, 21 Boetie Britz, 22 Thembelani Bholi, 23 Dustin Jinka, 24 Earl Rose, 25 Dwayne Jenner, 26 Kieran Goss.
Stormers: 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Bryan Habana, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Gerhard van den Heever, 10 Gary van Aswegen, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Nick Koster, 7 Duane Vermeulen, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Rynhard Elstadt, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Substitutes: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Deon Carstens, 18 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 19 Frans Malherbe, 20 Eben Etzebeth, 21 De Kock Steenkamp, 22 Nizaam Carr, 23 Nic Groom, 24 Marcel Brache, 25 Burton Francis, 26 Danie Poolman.