Boks brace for ‘different animal’

2013-06-24 08:55

Bryan Habana says the Springboks will take the victories in the quadrangular series against Italy, Scotland and Samoa, but he expects the Rugby Championship to be the true test for the Boks.

“We’ll enjoy tonight and take the series, but we know the Rugby Championships is going to be a different animal,” the Springbok wing said after South Africa crushed Samoa by 56-23 at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.

“We saw that the Wallabies with a lot of injuries still provide a big threat with their backline. They (Australia) got some fantastic players. We saw how good the All Blacks are with a 3-0 series win against the French. We also saw last year how good Argentina can be.

“So, we’ll take this win and enjoy it. And if we’re lucky enough to get chosen in a couple of weeks time post Super Rugby, we’ll take the positives we got from this series and start all over again and hopefully improve on our performance in the Rugby Championships,” he said.

The 30-year-old scored two tries against the Pacific Islanders – one in each half – to notch up his 50th Test try in his 86th Test in the green and gold.

“It’s been absolutely fantastic to be able to score 50 tries. Being able to put on my first Springbok jumper against the world champions (England at Twickenham in 2004) and score a try with my first touch in international rugby at the home of rugby is special and sort of laid the foundation to where I am today,” he recalled.

“To play in a team with legends of the game like Os du Randt, Percy Montgomery, Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha, Fourie du Preez and Schalk Burger - and to play in a team like we have now, has been an unbelievable journey not only on the rugby field, but off it as well. Hopefully I can continue to contribute to the success of Springbok rugby going forward.”

On his experience of playing at Loftus he said: “Being back at Loftus is special. I had five fantastic years here. I’ll never forget those years.

They were really special years and I was able to achieve some fantastic things.

“I have also been able to score some tries here since coming here for the past three years in a Stormers jumper. So, it has been a good hunting ground for me.”

The winger says the Boks showed against Samoa they can improve when they are tested physically and tactically under great pressure. He also praised the leadership of the Boks.

“I think guys like Jean (De Villiers), Adriaan (Strauss), Bismarck (Du Plessis) and myself have led the side unbelievably well over the past three weeks. When people wrote us off when Scotland led us 17-6 we still had a firm belief in the side. And when people were writing up the physicality of Samoa after our poor performance last week, we stepped up to the plate.

“Jean was under an injury cloud the whole week and he gave his body for the country. I think we’ll learn from this and take as many positives as we can from this going forward.

“We’ve been able to blood youngsters like Willie le Roux, Jan Serfontein, Trevor Nyakane and JJ Engelbrecht into a winning culture.

“We also had injuries to Jano Vermaak, Francois Hougaard and Arno Botha. And then you have players like Piet van Zyl and Siya Kolisi that step up.

“They really put their hand up. I think the coach has laid a net down to a wider group of players. It really shows the depth that South African rugby has at the moment.

“But if we want to become the best in the world we have to continue improving. There is a lot that we can improve on. The breakdown has been an area of focus for us over the last three weeks.

“But I think we really showed that if we get quick ball and get over the gain line we can be pretty dangerous when the ball gets into the hands of our backs,” he added.

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