Vodacom Super 14

Habana, Masaga's 'huge duel'

2009-05-26 12:05
Bulls wing Bryan Habana (File)
Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town – Resurgent Bulls and Springbok left wing Bryan Habana is being touted as a key danger man by New Zealand critics in the lead-up to the Super 14 final against the Chiefs on Saturday.

And his one-on-one with Chiefs flyer Lelia Masaga at Loftus could be decisive to the outcome.

So says the Waikato Times, leading newspaper in the maiden Super 14 finalists’ region, on Tuesday.

Writer Duncan Johnstone noted of Habana’s semi-final showing against the Crusaders: “The speedy Habana has a roving role with the Bulls and was dangerous every time he touched the ball – the brilliant left wing showed his instincts when he popped up on the opposite side of the field and from close to a ruck broke the Crusaders’ line off a Fourie du Preez pass to score unopposed next to the posts.”

He said Habana would have a “massive” personal match-up with Masaga in the final.

“Habana will have to contain twinkle-toed Masaga who has been in outstanding form with his own elusive running game that is also based around a licence to roam.”

The 22-year-old has not been prolific in the try-scoring department of late, although he dotted down in four of the first five Chiefs games this year and is fully recovered after an injury.

With explosive, more experienced team-mate Sitiveni Sivivatu out with a dislocated shoulder, a decent showing on the fast-paced Loftus pitch against world-class Habana could catapult Masaga into the All Blacks squad to be named after the Super 14 showpiece.

Meanwhile, the ever-outspoken Chris Rattue, writing in national daily The New Zealand Herald, nailed his prediction colours very firmly to the mast this week: “Hail the mighty Bulls as Super 14 champions because the Chiefs have no chance of winning the final in Pretoria.

“Fog may have descended on the Hamilton semi-final (Chiefs v Hurricanes) but the final scenario is as clear as a South African summer’s day. The home side should be unbackable favourites for their second title in three years.”

Rattue said the final would reveal the strengths and weaknesses of the Super tournament.

“Loftus is a magnificent theatre, a cliff-face of support for the home troops and such a graveyard for visiting teams that even the cynical Crusaders couldn’t defend a substantial semi-final lead.

“The continued Super presence of rugby-rich South Africa, who future participation has hung in the balance, is essential on one hand because it gives the tournament a wonderful international flavour.

“Yet the travel factor, including the late arrangements which are necessary in (the knockout phase) means one team may be seriously disadvantaged to the point that the final is a serious mismatch.”


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

If Super14 champs, the Bulls, had to take on Heineken Cup champs, Toulouse, at a neutral venue, which side would win?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.