Habana: Rustiness not a worry

2011-08-09 15:46

Durban - Bryan Habana insists that rustiness should not be a concern for South Africa ahead of their Tri-Nations encounter against Australia in Durban on Saturday.

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The Springbok winger last played competitive rugby for the Stormers in the Super 15 semi-final, which was five weeks ago, and along with several other of his international team-mates, was rested for the Australasian leg of the tournament.

Peter de Villiers’ side suffered demoralising defeats in both games, losing 39-20 to the Wallabies and then 40-7 to New Zealand.

The coach has since recalled more than 15 of his first-choice players, amongst them vice-captain Victor Matfield, Jaque Fourie and Jean de Villiers – all in a similar position having hardly played any rugby for five to seven weeks.

“I don’t think it should be a concern because we’ve been playing rugby for six months now," he told reporters in Umhlanga, “In terms of actual game fitness, I think it’s something we have to push ourselves as players.

“A lot of us have played four or five weeks ago. But we are putting in the hard work and are over our niggles now.”

However, not all the players are over their injury woes with Springbok management revealing earlier on Tuesday that their team announcement would be delayed by 48 hours due to problems with their loose forwards.

Pierre Spies (groin), Danie Rossouw (illness) and Willem Alberts (back) have all struggled this week, prompting the call-up of Ashley Johnson and Ryan Kankowski as cover for the Durban clash.

Spies and Rossouw did resume training on Tuesday, but De Villiers said he needed "a little time to see if there was any reaction”.

Habana, meanwhile conceded that the backline was not up to scratch in the last two games and confessed that the Springboks needed to physically improve if they are to be a bigger threat as they build towards the World Cup.

“I think the main focus for now should be Australia,” he said. “The World Cup may be in the back of all our minds, but I think if you start worrying about two or three weeks ahead, you’re going to slip behind the actual goal that’s there at the moment.

“For now that is Australia on Saturday. The core group has joined and we’re all together again.

“A lot of us haven’t played together since the end of year tour last year.

“I think our physicality needs to step up a bit from where it has been in the last couple of games.

“The backline, hopefully we can start executing a bit better than we’ve done.

“So lots of challenges, lots of goals that we have set out as a team, first of all for this Test and then looking forward to the World Cup.” The world champions have won just one of their last five meetings against the Australians, that win coming in Pretoria last year.

“We’re expecting the same thing we always do against Australia,” Habana said.

“They’re definitely a world class outfit.

“We haven’t got a good record against them the last five or so games, so it’s going to be tough.”

He noted that the visitors will be desperate to get back to winning ways after being themselves beaten by New Zealand 30-14 in Auckland last week.

“After the loss, I definitely think they are going to come out fighting.

“When you play the number two side in the world, you have to put your hand up and show that you deserve to be there.

"So we’re expecting a backlash from them, but expect us to stand up and make our country proud.”


  • Gomez - 2011-08-09 15:57

    Time for talk is over now.Fully behind you BOKKE but Saturday is the day you guys better dig deep and bring some pride back to the green jersey and install some fear!!!ROCK ON BOKKE!!!

      Dwerg - 2011-08-10 11:32

      Agreed, one day the coach is confident and the next days he's worried for varies reasons. I still don't buy the idea of 9+ players coming back from injury simultaneously By the way, the expression goes "instill fear", it's not software

      ZACommentator - 2011-08-10 12:39

      Habana has been rusty all season, why change now

  • Rob Rabbit - 2011-08-09 15:59

    If he gets any more rusty than he was in the super 15 he will clog up altogether.

      Grunk - 2011-08-09 16:03

      I was going to be insulting but humour is the best response to this garbage.

      Barry Edwards - 2011-08-09 16:33

      You are right. You would expect Q20 to be on the back of his shirt. Still he is worth a seat on the plane to NZ

      BiggestBull - 2011-08-09 17:44

      That's a beautiful analogy.

      Gazza69 - 2011-08-10 09:17

      Habana has been rusty since the last World Cup in 2007.......must be the Cape air....

      Coach18 - 2011-08-10 10:22

      No Gazza he has only been rusty since his move from the Bulls!

      Lance - 2011-08-10 16:12

      Absolutely..I thought Basson was his replacement but he cant tackle...Atleast Habana can tackle and gain valuable ground..yes, tries would be nice though.

  • Montblanc - 2011-08-09 16:04

    Won't notice if he is rusty or not. For the past 2 years he is used to being rusty.....

      BiggestBull - 2011-08-09 16:11

      YOU are rusty.

  • BiggestBull - 2011-08-09 16:06

    Useless hasbeen. FACT

      JohnnyBB - 2011-08-10 09:39

      ..the Stormbarians only buy "has-beens"...!! .....FACT...

  • BiggestBull - 2011-08-09 16:07

    Hi everyone, Let's show our support for Pierre Spies by clicking the Like button below this comment. Thanks!

      BiggestBull - 2011-08-09 17:43

      Hi All, I think some of you misunderstood my request and clicked dislike instead of LIKE. Thank you.

      Martin - 2011-08-09 18:24

      What is it with you and Pierre Spies boet? Pierre Spies is K@K, wipe the sh1t out your eyes. All brawn and muscle but can't tackle for sh1t, tell me how many tries did Spies leak this year?

      BiggestBull - 2011-08-09 18:28

      One bad season does not make you a bad player. All Spies needs is the support of South Africans to enable him get up and soar like an eagle again.

      Andrew - 2011-08-09 19:09

      You can only soar again if you soared to start with. He has never soared, you male admiration of him remains scary. Vote with your head and not your heart.

      Spitfire - 2011-08-09 19:15

      Pierre Spies cannot tackle. Kieron Read Tri Nations test in New Zealand last year-not even an effort. No heart. BULLS=BOKS rugby outdated.Kick away possession against the AB/Aussies and their backs will simply run it back at you.They will simply take it through the phasese and eventually breach the defensive line, due to their superior skill,creativity,vision,flair,pace,side stepping ability,off loading/continuity ect.Outta 10 attempts they only need to breach you 2-3 times=2/3 tries. No chance.I am sorry I am a realist not a naive the glass is always half full type of person who thinks the facts/performance history will change if we do a war cry and wear our T-shirts on Friday. GO BOKKE/PDV-please prove me wrong/make a fool out of me..

      Howzitekse - 2011-08-09 19:32

      Pierre Spies soars like a turkye.

      Kleinboet - 2011-08-10 00:27

      Biggest Bull, it seems to me you say about Spes: don't ask what you can do for your country, ask what your country can do for you'. At least Habana can tackle, which is going to be a pivotal issue in the World Cup. Spies cannot tackle for the life of him. In any case, Spies is still injured and I hope he will stand back and not play with an injury just to write another test behind his name. We cannot afford passengers, we allready have John Smit.

      RobinB - 2011-08-10 09:05

      You say 1 bad season doesnt make you a bad player? So why then call Bryan Habana bad?? Moron!!!!

      JohnnyBB - 2011-08-10 09:41

      ....Pierre Spies (Superman) is way better then overrated, slow-joe, tortoise Duane Vermeulen...!!!! ........Vermeulen = overrated just like the 10-year-loser-team....

      Lance - 2011-08-11 15:14

      @JohnnyBB..Spies might be milleseconds quicker than Duane but Duane is a human wrecking machine unlike Spies who is wasting his time playing rugby when he could be on the IFBB pro bodybuilding circuit. Spies looks like most loosies would like to look like..Duane plays like most loosies would like to play like..

  • Rijger - 2011-08-09 16:15

    Here we go again. Blah, blah, blah.When are you guys going to learn that talk is cheap, money buys the whiskey? Can't wait for the next episode of "Blah, Blah, Blah" Just wonder who the next wannabe guru wil be, any guesses?

      BiggestBull - 2011-08-09 16:19

      John Tugboat Smit.

      sipholess - 2011-08-09 16:27

      Spot on Rijger, You have just opened yourself up for some serious verbal abuse Brian. No rustiness on your tongue though.

  • Jackool - 2011-08-09 16:17

    Even on a bad day as a Springbok Habana will still play better than the "less rugby mature" players that played on the away leg.

  • BokSharky - 2011-08-09 16:27

    Guys i think all the negative comments surrounding Habana is a bit harsh and unfair ,please give the guy a break give him some clear ball or create some good ball into space for the oke to prove his pace one on one with another winger or against a defending fullback then we see ,Digby ,Mavovu and Habana quickest wings around at the moment .Habana will be one of the players to watch at the worldcup Form is temporary class is forever -Let us rather get a good enough playmaker to send Habana into space ..........Habana they did it to Percy he went away came back and won the World Cup for us -SHOW DEM BROTHER

      steam_engine - 2011-08-09 17:09

      Its desrespectful to write Mvovo's surname like that!!

      BiggestBull - 2011-08-09 17:40

      It's disrespectful to spell like that.

      Barry Edwards - 2011-08-09 18:06

      Its just disrespectful

      Timo Welding - 2011-08-09 19:53

      I was one of Habana's most vocal critics, but at least he can tackle and gives 120%. Must be honest and say that I would rather have him on the park for defense at the moment! How many tries did we leak around the wings? If they really want to play Steyn at fullback, I reckon you have to find a spot for Aplon, he has heart!

  • Barry Edwards - 2011-08-09 16:28

    I dont think Habana is our first choice winger. Still I dont think you can leave him out off the plane to NZ

      BiggestBull - 2011-08-09 16:31

      Please elaborate a bit more. Thank you

      Barry Edwards - 2011-08-09 17:56

      To elaborate. He is not performing to our standards. If feel he is not in the right franchise.

  • calie.jacobs - 2011-08-09 16:37

    Branda jy beter ophou praat en begin wys my Gabba! Jy is ook maar net daar deur die genade. Want regtig jy verdien dit nie.

  • jochem - 2011-08-09 17:38

    You've been rusty for the past two years, you overrated moegoe.

  • Frans Smith - 2011-08-09 17:50

    just wondering; since he had been off form for awhile; how many tries habana has scored in the last two years, beating a man on defence? it seems he thrives on the intercept try..and when he misses, it usually ends up one against the boks.

      AJ - 2011-08-10 08:17

      yeah and that intercept try every few games happens at the expense of opening a hole where we leak tries of our own. What use is 7 points from a rare intercept try that also leaks 7 or more points against us?

  • BiggestBull - 2011-08-09 17:51

    I've been fairly bloated lately.

      ozzymate - 2011-08-10 05:13

      bloated you say Biggest Bull? are you taking it in from the wrong end there that how spies gets those nice big muscles that you admire so much?

  • Frans Smith - 2011-08-09 17:52

    That brings me to another question: how many of our backs are really still capable of beating "man on man", to create a try or an opportunity for a support player?

      BiggestBull - 2011-08-09 18:03

      Wynand Olivier.

      Jackool - 2011-08-09 18:04

      I think the answer to that would be...uh, let me see....NONE. Creativity and complex moves doesn't come to mind when thinking of South African rugby in general. The game plan is to run into the wall and hope a brick will crack and break...maybe thats why we have so many injuries these days.

      BiggestBull - 2011-08-09 18:10

      I agree.

      Hayden - 2011-08-09 19:49

      G. Aplon & F. Steyn

      Frans Smith - 2011-08-09 20:08

      @hayden - steyn - i hope so, cause i have never seen him pass a ball? aplon - must agree with you. my problem with him is that he is quite small and his defence have been found wanting...and by the looks of it, if selected he will be doing a lot more defending than attacking?

      boyd.lance - 2011-08-10 08:32

      @Frans - By 'found wanting' I guess you mean the missed tackle on Digby in the opening game? I think that's a bit unfair to blame him. Its like blaming a goalkeeper for not saving a penalty in football. Digby is one of the most illusive and deadliest wingers in world rugby and I doubt that Frans Steyn, Kurtley, Mills, or any other fullback would've done any better.

  • loverugby - 2011-08-09 18:10

    Without Super Sharp Banana , Fourie and De Villiers , WP scored more tries in the 4 Currie Cup games than the 3 overpaid hasbeens scored in the whole S15

      BiggestBull - 2011-08-09 18:12

      Think before you type next time.

      Barry Edwards - 2011-08-09 18:18

      Do you actually watch or follow the Currie Cup games. I dont see the point of watching a competition that has no bearing on anything to do with rugby in South Africa. It should be but unfortunately it is not.

      BiggestBull - 2011-08-09 18:25

      I love Currie Cup rugby.

      Barry Edwards - 2011-08-09 18:56

      You are one of a few people/

      Howzitekse - 2011-08-09 19:42

      A lot of the guys in the Bok squad will be gone next year, and the guys playing in the Curry Cup now will be the new Boks. There are some good players coming through.

      Lance - 2011-08-11 15:30

      The smaller unions also get exposure which keeps our future playing pool nice n large to choose from. I cant help but smile when I think of the selection headaches the decision makers will have in 2012 come Bok time..

  • johnnylaw - 2011-08-09 18:26

    Bokke 26 - 10 skippy

      BiggestBull - 2011-08-09 18:30

      Are you high bru?

      Barry Edwards - 2011-08-09 19:09

      Johnny seems to be an optimist. Unlike you Biggest Bull

  • Frans Smith - 2011-08-09 20:33

    maybe one point to consider; 2009 tri-nations - average points leaked by the boks = 23,50 2010 tri-nations - average points leaked by the boks = 32,30 2011 tri-nations so far = 39,50 2010 there were more tries scored than ever before in the compo = 52 an average of 5,78 per game. An increase of 93% on 2009 (the last tri-nations the boks won 5 out of 6 games). 2011 - boks leak 4,5 tries so far per game. 2010; stats/comment after tri-nations; "Blacks had 261 possessions during the Tri Nations and scored 22 tries – an average of a try every 12 times they start possession whereas the Wallabies had 230 possessions and scored 17 tries – an average of a try every 14 times they start possession. The Springboks had 265 possessions and only scored 13 tries – an average of a try every 20 times they start possession." and This comment/stats also after 2010; "The Springboks look stuck in the past and that’s supported by the percentage of possession each team kicked the ball this year – 35% for the All Blacks, 37% for the Wallabies and 46% for the Springboks. It’s also supported by the numbers of line breaks made – 44 by the Wallabies, 38 for the All Blacks and only 18 for the Springboks. It’s surely time to make changes in the way the Springboks play the game and that may take a change of coaches to achieve." I never saw any change from that this year? DID YOU?

      Frans Smith - 2011-08-09 20:35


      Andrew - 2011-08-09 22:32

      If your coaching staff and players cannot adapt they will die, this is exactly what is happening to the Bokke, the game has moved on. Modern backlines take the ball at full tilt, not standing still. The modern flyhalf is a game breaker not a goal kicker, the modern pack of forwards is more than just a bunch of "enforcers". If you keep doing what you have always done then you will always get the sames results. What amazes me is the denial by supporters who remain convinced that despite our recent record, our injury status (19 odd in the squad) that these wonderful servants of SA rugby, many of whom have not a shred of personal form are suddenly going to pull of the "Rocky" style knockpout in the last round. You cannot fix something that has been slowly broken over 2 years in one month.

  • Drewka - 2011-08-09 21:27

    Rustiness doesn't matter if you have experience. This bok side (if it stays the same) will be the most experienced side in the RWC with 1079 test caps under their name. I'm glad that Nienaber (DHL Stormers) has been confirmed as defence coach, while Rassie does his tactical brilliance. We do have a very good chance to bring the cup home. It all depends on how desperate the players are to do just that for our loyal, positive moral boosting supporters.

      Andrew - 2011-08-09 22:07

      @ Drewka,. Not true, lack of match fitness is the reason for rustiness. Match fitness is where you are able to second guess your team mates every move, where you can offload those sneaky passes where you "cleverness" works more often than not. There is only one way to get match fit and that is to play together. Brian found that out the hard way when he changed teams, all of a sudden he was not playing with people who would know what he was about to do and where he knew what they were about to do. A couple of poor games thinking he was indestructable and the mighty fell. His self confidence went and has been non existent for what is it now, 2 years? Brian should know better than to shoot his mouth of on particularly this topic. In my opinion he is extremely lucky to be in the team and me even be a quota player.

      Andrew - 2011-08-09 22:20

      Desperation is hardly a quality we would want in the team, hopefully experience stops desperation. What experience cannot do it to take care of "confidence, fitness, personal ball skills, injuries, the ravages of time on bodies that have laid it on the line too often" etc. No matter how many tests you have played if the other half of the team is poor then so will you be. I am afraid that the amount of test caps is not going to win us the WC. A dramatic, nay miraculous, turnaround is required. Us winning the WC would be dead against the form book (not impossible) but improbable. We have to learn us use our heads when making sweeping statements and not just follow what the heart would like.

      Drewka - 2011-08-09 23:16

      How can you win something if all your thoughts are so negative?? Rather concentrate on the positives and build on that. Brian among others is not on form, agreed, but he is a world class player doing everything to the best of his ability. Saying that he is a quota is shocking and I think you don’t know what you’re talking about. "Match fitness" is just another word thought up by all these negative brainless couch referees that call them self supporters. Match fitness didn't help the AB's in the last world cup, and certainly it won’t in this one. Experience, composure and BMT win world cups.

      Andrew - 2011-08-10 09:25

      Hi Drewka, I am not attacking you! It matters precious little how confident and positive I am it matters how capable the bokke are. I will support the boks until the day I die, I will be one of the first, along with you and many others, to scream myself hoarse when watching. I think what I am saying is that what we are asking our team, against the background of what in my opinion has been poor coaching, leadership and managament by the Divvy, Gold and Muir, to achive something that they have not been prepared adequately for. When we went to Aus and NZ for the recent Tri Nations I knew we would loose for the same reason. It has nothing to do with support, positivity or negativity, it has to do with very sound principles, principles that should have been in place 2 years ago. What did shock me about the three games so far is how far we are behind NZ and Aus, especially NZ. They have reinvented the modern game again and we are stuck in this time warp. So be positive as much as you want, you will not be able to reverse the effects of poor management, coaching, lack of game plan. It's like standing in a garage and saying "I am a car" over and over again. No matter how many times you say it and believe it you will never become a car. I feel the same way about the boks chances, but it will not stop me supporting them.

  • Sir Eidolon - 2011-08-09 23:45

    Brian doesn't even make the Stormers team, yet he speaks as if his voice matters. Hopefully he will break a leg before the WC.

  • GraemeBB - 2011-08-10 01:09

    @Hardekwas - Stormers was die beste blaaaaaaaaa. Hulle is opgedonner op Nuweland teen al die spanne wat getel het - klaar. SA rugby is op die oomblik die swakste in n lang tyd.

      JohnnyBB - 2011-08-10 09:50

      ....10-year-losers..... ......and counting.....

      FJ2 - 2011-08-10 11:55

      Lyk my ons het nog elke keer die WB gewen as ons rugby so half swakkerig was. Kom ons hoop dis weer so

  • Northern Stormer - 2011-08-10 06:25

    "One bad season does not make you a bad player. All Spies needs is the support of South Africans to enable him get up and soar like an eagle again" - SAY NO MORE !!! If he is from the North he may be forgiven and "give him another chance" - If he is from the South the everyone wants him fired - DOUBLE STANDARDS GUYS !!!!!

  • Fiftybucks - 2011-08-10 07:52

    Our starting wings should be Pietersen and Aplon, Habana can perhaps offer something off of the bench. I will put my proverbial on the block and say that our best starting 15 are: 1.Beast 2.Smit 3. Jannie 4.Bakkies 5.Matfield 6.Brussouw 7.Desel/Smith 8.Alberts 9.FdP 10.James 11.Aplon 12.F Steyn 13. J Fourie 14.Pietersen 15.Lambie

      TheDuck - 2011-08-10 14:59

      Aplon is too small. Possible impact player but should not start. Nonu ran straight over him.

  • Verm - 2011-08-10 08:02

    i dont think you bryan habana are in any position to comment about have been rusty for the last two years and in no way deserve to be in the bok are so far past your sell by date. there are at least 4 better wings in the fold who should replace you. YOU SIMPLY ARE JUST NOT BOK MATERIAL ANYMORE.

  • Kok - 2011-08-10 08:12

    Habana is al rusti die afgelope 2 seisoene.

  • Dan - 2011-08-10 08:28

    Eish, from a man who hasn't been in form for two seasons now! All the excures - first they play too much, now thay haven't played for a while. We are becoming real cry babies - just like the Aussies and England. Under PDV we always seem to have some excuse - at least most of us know he is our only excuse.

  • Bellakanoose - 2011-08-10 08:37

    Whatever Bryan! You've been CRAP for so long now you're my biggest worry! Running and falling not catching the ball coming off your line to try for the intercept leaving gaps in defence... you don't deserve your place in the squad, well, certainly not ahead of the other wingers who have performed far better!

  • FJ2 - 2011-08-10 11:49

    Nê, mnr Habana?! Wel, ek hoop jy is reg. En ek hoop jyself kan vir die volgende paar maande jou vorm terugkry.

  • AmandaWhereTo - 2011-08-10 11:49

    Is it just me or is Habana looking more like Spies in recent times... (beefcaaake!!!)

  • - 2011-08-10 12:32

    Rust not the problem. You are!!! Aplon and Peterson as wings.

  • Jenny - 2011-08-10 12:51

    The problem with SA Rugby is we have too many people who know everything about rugby and too little playing it or proving it.. See all the know it all comments above.

      Bellakanoose - 2011-08-10 13:58

      Wow... that really got us all thinking there! Knowing everything about Rugby would then included playing it... so best you pipe down and go buy a Hello Kitty bag!

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