Habana 'starting to stutter'

2011-09-26 15:30

RWC Mediawatch with Rob Houwing

Cape Town - It is a debate that has raged all season in South Africa, but now seasoned left wing Bryan Habana’s struggle to really assert himself has been noticed further abroad.

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The Springbok star of the 2007 World Cup seems to be losing his lustre, The Guardian broadsheet newspaper in the UK has suggested.

In a generally approving mid-RWC 2011 assessment of the defending champions, columnist and television commentator Eddie Butler, a former Welsh Test player, wrote: “There is one area of interest, or concern, or potential, depending on how you view Habana and Francois Hougaard on the wing.

“Against Namibia, Habana, with his 39th try, went ahead of Joost van der Westhuizen, but looks to have lost the ability to launch the surging runs that were once his trademark ... he has started to stutter, never quite timing his run on to the ball.

“Hougaard, on the other hand, looks a bundle of cranky energy, aggressive, darting and speedy. He is almost the team’s talisman (and) the sign that the Springboks are stirring.”

Butler also fancies that Frans Steyn “has made the No 12 shirt his own” and that “the long reign” of Jean de Villiers is over.

“Steyn looks as if he ate the most at the party but he is playing with aggression and purpose alongside Jaque Fourie who, by way of contrast, seems to have slimmed down and now appears to be running less confrontationally.”

*Meanwhile, New Zealand newspaper the Waikato Times paid tribute on Monday to minnows Namibia’s brave – but now completed -- presence at the tournament, despite another walloping for them at the hands of Wales in their last pool fixture.

“In a few years from now,” wrote Dan Gilhooly, “some of us will still recall the unsymmetrical yet cheerful visage of Namibia’s workaholic captain Jacques Burger, the ambition of fullback Chrysander Botha – whose running was as colourful as his name – or the long-range try scored by lumbering lock Heinz Koll before Wales put them to the sword.

“Farewell Namibia, hope you enjoyed your stay. Four Tests, 16 days, pool of death and all ... a festering sore at this tournament (was) the unfair schedule for the weaker nations.

“Fiji, Samoa, South Africa and then Wales: is it any wonder the young Welsh wizards Warren Gatland wheeled out (on Monday) shredded the tier-three nation’s defence like tissue paper in the latter stages of their 81-7 romp?”


  • Vjaay - 2011-09-26 15:41

    Habana is a dead wood peter must not field him again....

      RonJ - 2011-09-26 16:02

      Having said all that, like a few others, Habana still has the class and one last World Cup left in him. I'm hoping (we all are) that he'll rise to the occassion and do his talking on the field with a few last match winning tries.

      Johnny-BB - 2011-09-26 16:13

      ...PDV must play Bismark at no 2, .....Hougaard at no 11, ...and Frans Steyn at no 12... ...if NOT, ......its bye-bye word Cup for the Proteas......!!

      pcpcoetzee89 - 2011-09-26 17:10

      HABANA and JDV's time is so, so OVER ... good grief when on earth are our rugby coaching staff going to register these UNDENIABLE FACTS!!

      Boy Louw - 2011-09-26 17:52

      Everybody sees it, except Snorre! How poor does he have to become before he gets dumped?

      Bandleader - 2011-09-26 19:16

      Think Habana was already slipping in his last season at the Bulls. WP was his retirement plan and he's failed miserably. Think Habana's been show-boating since he arrived at WP, riding on reputation. No hunger, no pace, far too safe. Should have retired long ago. And I'm a WP/Stormers fan.

      Pieter - 2011-09-27 03:32

      @Johnny-BB - Bloody hell man, IT'S THE SPRINGBOKS, NOT THE PROTEAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      BTRX - 2011-09-27 07:19

      Bandleader-And the (not so clever WP coaching staff) baught Habana for a ridiculous price!! The Blue Bulls buy the other reagions upcoming stars and make the Springboks-see the difference?

      Parko - 2011-09-27 07:25

      I read the headline - what does Habana's speech have to do with anything ?

      sniperman - 2011-09-27 08:47

      Habana - 90% speed 0% talent

  • Tonderai of Cape Town - 2011-09-26 15:45

    I say Frans over Brian..he's performing AND he's an investment for the future.

      Bandleader - 2011-09-26 19:04

      Agree. Brian's a has-been. He's slow and he's lost his attacking zeal. His defence is stil tenacious, but his overall form is a liability. Francois Hougaard is light-years ahead of Habana. He turns games with his electrifying pace and his awesome game sense.

      AMS-Dammer - 2011-09-26 20:36

      Brian's "PLAY BY" DATE HAS EXPIRED.... He need to be put to pasture..... unless, he gets a WAKE UP CALL OF NOTE...!!!!!

      Ohmikehunt - 2011-09-26 20:58

      What absolute rubbish @Tonderai and the rest of you. For starters Frans is NOT a wing. Secondly Habana has a FANTASTIC work ethic. Fact is that he has not been getting the opportunities on his side of the field but he contributes immensely in setting up situations for phase ball and on defense. About time you armchair critics did a course in rugby tactics 101 before you comment and show how little you know!

      Bandleader - 2011-09-26 22:41

      @Ohmikehunt, the point of the article is Habana's stuttering on attack. Nobody's arguing about his defence or his work ethic. Hougie may not be a wing, but he does better on attack than Habana does! I think you are referring to Habana's oppoportunities at the RWC? the general reference is to his overall performance, as well as this RWC. But I suppose I'd better sign up for Rugby 101, ne?

      Hay Seeds - 2011-09-27 08:49

      What about JDV in the place of Brian, and Francois Hougardt as an impact player?

  • StBad - 2011-09-26 15:48

    Always preferred Hougie as a scrumhalf but there's no doubting he's lightyears ahead of Habana these days; and for a while I felt JdV was the best inside centre SA have ever seen (especially with JF beside him) but Steyn has brought the hunger into the midfield and is killing it at the moment! Glad the competition between the players is back!

      BulvanBulle - 2011-09-26 15:51

      @StBad JdV has never been close to the best centre SA has seen. Not close. I can name more than 10 that is totally in a different class than this little idiot

      gooinat - 2011-09-26 15:56

      Bul,who would you go with,meisiekind Olivier??????

      Jay - 2011-09-26 15:58

      BulvanBulle - how does not boing the best centre make someone an idiot ? Do you know what an idiot is ?

      BulvanBulle - 2011-09-26 16:12

      @Jay Ok let me put it this way, idiot of a rugby player. (did not mean he's an idiot of a person) He was a good provincial player 3 years and more ago, never been an international star at all.

      Johnny-BB - 2011-09-26 16:29

      ..intercept, cant tackle, Jean de Villiers is overrated... ......always was..... a walking injury....

      jontheb - 2011-09-26 16:42

      If you want FS at inside center - who do you propose for fullback? Do want to put an Aplon or a Lambie there against the All Blacks? FS has played well at inside center, but was picked at fullback for a reason - we don't have anyone else big enough or with a big enough boot to play against the big boys. FS is an excellent utility back and could slot in almost anywhere (except wing!!!), but we need him at 15...

      Marx - 2011-09-26 16:46

      JdV is way past his best, it made more sense to have taken him with 'cause you need a good centre combo. Frans, unfortunately for Jean, stepped up to the plate, made his mark and I back him 100%

      RowRobCk - 2011-09-26 19:50

      Use their experience to dull the barb of your oppositions sting and then put in pace and agility to stretch oppositions tired legs seems to be the recipe snorre is cooking the bok stew with? But what scares me is the lead that can be built up if they get away from being tired out reffering to AB & OZ so may be pro active and not reactive first halves are required from now on ?and then u need players with gas in their tanks.

      Ohmikehunt - 2011-09-26 21:03

      @BulvanBulle - typical meaningless Vlou Nulle comment... go back to Moftus you dumb grunt!

      Hay Seeds - 2011-09-27 11:47

      Pieterson can play full back, Jdv on wing and Steyn centre

  • BulvanBulle - 2011-09-26 15:49

    "Starting" ??????????????? He's been useless since he joined WP

      RonJ - 2011-09-26 15:52

      I'll second that !!! Seems the WeePee glory-boy mentality also went to his head. All the players are at their career best at the Bulls. WeePee corrupts them all and robs them of their true ability as players. Hougaard, please don't leave the Bulls, you'll be downgrading if you do ...

      gooinat - 2011-09-26 16:09

      Ron,stick to porn,you obviously know nothing about rugby!!!!!!!!!!

      BulvanBulle - 2011-09-26 16:14

      @gooinat And you reckon WP is SA's most successful team the last decade

      gooinat - 2011-09-26 16:20

      Bul,did I mention anything about succesful team the last decade?????,Province/Stormers have produced some great Boks over the last decade,if thats what you are referring to???

      Coconut - 2011-09-26 16:52

      WP/Stormers bought a "has been". The BULLS coaching staff new that Habana's days were very numbered that is why they let him go. The timing was great. All that said I must admit that he was a great winger but as in all things "everything must come to an end". Well done Brian on your record but the time has come to hang up your boots. You served the BULLS well and also the Springboks.

      Ohmikehunt - 2011-09-26 21:07

      More Vlou Nulle comments - seems like the Bulls management don't agree, as they keep on buying the "WP" talent... don't the brainstrust at Moftus know how to cultivate their own talent?

      BulvanBulle - 2011-09-26 23:10

      @Ohmikehunt And the WP/Stormers team are all cultivated in the WP? Jantjies, Habana, Jacque Fourie, Grant, scrumhalf, Dom Duane, Louw, Fondse, Tiaan Liebenberg, Harris, CL Van der Linde just to name a few FF. Now back on your sister

      Jim - 2011-09-27 08:05

      I think he moved to WP on semi-retired basis and not much more.

  • Bootman - 2011-09-26 15:55

    I dont think Hougaard will have the same impact when he starts as he has when he comes on as a sub. He is deadly when the opposition defence is tired. Look at when he scores his tries.......near the end of the game. He is a great impact player, and because he covers scrumhalf and wing, you have to keep him fresh. I shudder to think what would happen if he's been playing on the wing for 60 minutes and now has to move to scrumhalf.

      krl777 - 2011-09-26 16:08

      P. de Villiers, is that you? Stop posting on News 24, drink your papsak and go to bed! Tomorrow is a long day nha?

      Pierre de Villiers - 2011-09-26 16:09

      He scores tries at the end, cause that is when he is played... after 60mins... Start him already!

      Bootman - 2011-09-26 17:23

      If you're going to start him, start him at scrumhalf FFS. You cant have your scrumhalf cover starting at wing. If you look at our other option at SH, then PDV is doing exactly the right thing with Hougaard. Fools here are acting as if Habana is keeping Hougaard out of the starting 15, when in fact, it's Du preez keeping him out. @ Pierre - He started against Namibia and scored two late tries.........

      Ron-ny - 2011-09-26 18:59

      I can't stop hearing Villiers's voice while reading Bootmans comments now, thanks krl777!

      jontheb - 2011-09-26 19:03

      Precisely - by the way - Hougaard sucks at scrumhalf and I would rather see pienaar covering flyhalf and scrumhalf. FH is the ultimate impact player and can turn a game on its head. Sending on Lambie, Bismarck and Hougaard at 60 minutes has the effect of sending on an extra 8 players!!!

      odysseus - 2011-09-26 19:10

      impact yes.... but for longer than just 20 minutes please.... along with Bismarck

      Bootman - 2011-09-26 19:58

      Ron-ny I dont start my sentences with "Ja you know"

  • Willyza - 2011-09-26 15:56

    I just think they let him play to break the SA record ,will be surprised if he plays again

  • Razz-ma-Tazz - 2011-09-26 15:57

    Will like to see the PROTEA stars Frans Steyn and Ford Escort sorry Francois Hougaard performing against true teams like Oz, AB and France. You cannot judge them against teams like Fiji and Namibia. Merely because they are not specialist players in that posision.

      Staalbal - 2011-09-26 16:02

      Frans Steyn plays his club rugby at inside centre you chop

      DeonL - 2011-09-26 16:04

      Any person that scores a try by running OVER a wales wing has my vote. Hougaard is hungry for the team but Habanna has lost his touch. May they never be called Proteas. This is just not cricket.

  • krl777 - 2011-09-26 16:04

    That is a rhetorical question right?

  • K_Power - 2011-09-26 16:14

    No doubt that Frans is performing well.It's the question of who's more hungry,Frans or Habana?My answer is Frans.There are also too many handling errors so the wings are not getting as much ball as they should.Swing low!!I feel the same about Bizmark and Smit.Bizmark is no doubt the best hooker at the moment and it's good that PDV has put him on the starting line-up against Samoa.

  • KUNZIE - 2011-09-26 16:47

    Johnny BB take that stuck record player and shove it where you think the sun shines from.

  • Reon - 2011-09-26 16:55

    I think Percy is going to play fullback and Rassie will be Captain.

      avanjaarsveld - 2011-09-27 12:55

      Nice I like

  • Eugene - 2011-09-26 16:57

    Habana loosens the lid for Hougaard. Bryan must start every game and wear out the opposition loosening the lid and then Hougaard can come in as an impact player and open the jar. This is about winnning the world cup not giving Hougaard an opportunity.

  • Jiggabu - 2011-09-26 17:55

    You should take note that his form SHARPLY declined immediately when he left the Bulls for the Stormers.

  • Blikskottel - 2011-09-26 18:06

    We need Frans Steyn physicality at 12 against the likes of Pat McCabe and especially against Nonu/Sonny Bill Williams should we get to the semi's

  • dylan van zyl - 2011-09-26 19:36

    habana is a marked man so he can never get any runs. he always has atleast 2 people on him when he gets the ball. the opposition know what he can do.

      Bandleader - 2011-09-26 20:03

      The problem is that he's become predictable, that's why they know what he'll do. Brian best weapons were the element of surprise and lightning quick execution.

  • raspatin - 2011-09-26 20:07

    He is bit selfish as well and sometimes gets lost like a headless chicken.

  • Johann - 2011-09-26 20:17

    On the spot remarks. Habana is not a shadow of the brilliant runner 4 years ago, it even showed in Super rugby. Hougaard WANTS to play and is an "Yster" wherever they play him. Then, I whole heartedly agree with all the positive remarks about Namibia, and add to that the fact that the no. 6 , du Plessis I think, was Man of the Match, brilliant!!!

  • raspatin - 2011-09-26 20:33

    Then why de Plessis didn't get a matchman award Johhan ? WE must not judge this on racial lines.

      MyWereld - 2011-09-26 21:28

      Please everybody, leave the team as Snorre sees fit. Habana & Fourie are excellent and will ensure that the cup does NOT go back to SA

  • Neutralist - 2011-09-26 22:42

    When was the last time we wish we heard this. Here's an article from 2007 after the Boks beat Samoa. "Bryan Habana was the star of the show, dotting down four times, and twice making tries out nothing with some slippery running, huge acceleration off the mark, and speed, speed, speed."

  • Chris Jones - 2011-09-26 22:47

    Habana's defensive ability is better than any back!

      Lance - 2011-09-27 10:50

      For sures, his attack is off par...but his defence and ability to catch and/or chase the high ball is spot on...Houghie is a better wing at this present time though. Houghie for 60...Brian for 20..

  • sbhennops - 2011-09-26 23:15

    Hey keep your undies on people. Older doesn't mean over the fence. He still has more pace than many, and snorre should look at bringing him into the centers, because he has an eye for the ball and will be closer to whats happening to take those opportunities. He is also solid on defence and around the ruck its not a bad trate to have.

  • Jan - 2011-09-26 23:53

    Mentioning this hasbeen and Joost in the same breath is as near to blasphemy as you can get. If I had a million bucks to pay our Namibian team just to prevent him from scoring that his last try, I would have gladly done it. What a bloody pity!

      Lean - 2011-09-27 00:56

      You know nothing about rugby. And should support the all blacks. I Really hope you aren't a south african, because if you are, I am ashamed to be one as well!

  • Shawdog - 2011-09-27 03:09

    When Habana is good, he is very very good BUT when he is bad, he is just kak! Make way for Hougard and others to follow. In saying that GO the BOKS...just got to beat the Aussies, then the AB's then it's on to the final VS England which should be a piece of cake!! Third Time World Champs!

  • Marius - 2011-09-27 05:38

    Habana you did as proud over the years. I have a lot of respect for you but I really think it will be better for SA Rugby if Hougaard. I live in NZ and the KIWI's recon that hougaard will be the most dangerous player on the pitch if he gets a starting team

  • wozlocksley - 2011-09-27 07:22

    ease up on brian guys - lets see how he goes against samoa.

  • Ryan - 2011-09-27 08:22

    how does Habana's speed compare to other wings we have in SA ? I always thought Habana was the fastest, or close to it ? and that that was presumably one of the reasons he got picked. I see quite a few commenters saying his slow on this forum ... seriously ??

  • jellyass.malema - 2011-09-27 08:28

    They call him Habanero? Crikey if habanero's were that slow I'd eat them all day long!

  • DesertDust - 2011-09-27 08:47

    I think Johnny- BB is on to something...If we by some cunning strategy fielded the Proteas instead of the Springboks,we just might win the Webb Ellis for a third time.Biff as tighthead prop and AB as scrumhalf with Dale Steyn at silly point!

  • Gerhard - 2011-09-27 11:10

    seems like Johnny domkop gets confused between the sports, and the teams and then he wants to advise which changes we should make...

  • Greggs69 - 2011-09-27 11:53

    I believe Bryan will still help us out of the dwang this world cup but Francois Hougaard needs to start at scrumhalf and Fourie can wait on bench.

  • PEA - 2011-09-27 11:56 wonder the bus looks half washed!

  • woodifer - 2011-09-27 11:58

    and everybody is an expert.hahahahaha

  • Melinda - 2011-09-29 14:44

    I repect both but I will go for Hougi he has alot of energy

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