Durban - Experienced wing Bryan Habana is excited to make a valuable contribution to the Springbok cause ahead of a possible third Rugby World Cup.
Habana has been a regular starter for the Springboks during this the 2015 Test season.
He’s featured in the No 11 jersey against the World XV, and during the Rugby Championship clashes against the Australia and New Zealand.
The 32-year-old offers plenty of experience, having played 106 Tests, while he’s also scored 57 tries for South Africa.
It’s clear that coach Heyneke Meyer plans on using the veteran speedster as a key role player during the 2015 Rugby World Cup. If selected, it will be Habana’s third World Cup, having featured in 2007 (where he equalled the record for most tries in a Webb Ellis trophy-winning tournament) and 2011.
Habana said he wants his performances on the field to earn his place in the team this season.
“There has been change since the 2007 World Cup. I’m definitely a different player… definitely a bit more grey!” Habana told MyPlayers.co.za. “2007 was a fantastic year for South African rugby. And having gone through the highs and the lows over the past eight years, it has made me a stronger person, and has helped me put the right goals in place.
“My roles have also changed. In addition to my duties in the backline and relying on pure pace, I try to make valuable contributions in other areas, like at the breakdown, which was something I was doing in 2007. I just want to be the best player I can be for the team.
“I also have gained plenty of experience over the years. And with that, I play a mentoring role for the younger guys in the squad.
“They bring a lot of energy and excitement in the squad, which is nice. It keeps things fresh in the Springbok environment.”
Habana said he’s been impressed with the performances of the likes of flyhalf Handre Pollard and centres Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel.
“They’re young guys and they’ve done very well at this level,” said Habana. “Jesse is always excited to get on to the field and play, which is great to see. At times, it’s important to channel that excitement in the right way and to help provide calm in pressure situations.
“Every player makes mistakes, and while they continue to grow and develop on the field, it’s important to offer leadership and guidance off it as well.”
While the Springboks are winless during the Rugby Championship, Habana believes they have the talent to go all the way at the Rugby World Cup.
“We’re making progress every week. We have the players to do well. We just need to work on our problem areas and continue improving. Hopefully, we can make South Africa proud and maybe return with that trophy!”
For more exclusive player content, check out MyPlayers.co.za