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    Jean backs partner Habana

    2012-02-08 22:21
    Cape Town - Stormers centre Jean de Villiers doesn't foresee any problems for Bryan Habana slotting into the Stormers midfield against the Southern Kings 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.

    And centre partner De Villiers feels Habana has what it takes to shine at outside centre.

    "Bryan has the characteristics to be a good outside centre. He is a good decision maker and his pace is fantastic," De Villiers told Die Burger.

    "It's becoming a trend now amongst wingers to shift to outside centre. Tana Umaga (New Zealand) and Aurélien Rougerie (France) walked the same road after they became Test players."

    Habana last played at No 13 in 2006, a game in which he partnered De Villiers in the Boks' midfield against Ireland in Dublin. South Africa lost badly (32-15) that day at a windy Lansdowne Road.

    And Habana said he is eager to have a better outing in the midfield this time round.

    "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.

    "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," he said via a video clip on the Stormers' Facebook page.

    Teams:

    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.

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