Bryan Habana (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - The standard response coming out of the Springbok camp over the last week has been that Bryan Habana is a man more concerned with the team than with personal accolades.
The wing's hat-trick against the United States last week saw him draw level with Jonah Lomu at the top of the all-time try scorers list at World Cups, and Bok coach Heyneke Meyer was the latest to be asked about the 114-Test veteran at Wednesday's team announcement.
"I’ve always said that if you want to win the World Cup
somewhere along the line you need game-breakers coming through," said Meyer.
"In the build-up
to the World Cup he probably wasn’t at his best but it’s tough for Bryan
because he plays Test match rugby then goes to Europe then comes back to Test
"So he never has an off-season. For the first time now he’s had a
good off-season. I think he’s peaking at the right time. He’s very experienced,
he’s very competitive and he definitely lifts the team and you need guys like
that in your side and especially with our young centres and flyhalf."
Meyer reiterated that it is not about Habana and his personal milestones but the squad and their quest to win the World Cup, but the coach is extremely happy with what he is getting out of one of his star players right now.
"He’s playing the best rugby I’ve seen from him in quite
some time … we’re going to need him Saturday ... he’s truly inspirational," said Meyer.
"Bryan is not the type of guy to play for himself and records … it’s all about
Kick-off at Twickenham on Saturday is at 17:00.
15 Willie le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Fourie du Preez (captain), 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Jannie du Plessis, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jan Serfontein.