Record not as important as winning – Habana

2011-09-05 11:43

Defending the World Cup title was more important than scoring the illusive five-pointer that would make him the leading Springbok try-scorer of all time, winger Bryan Habana has said.

In June 2010 the former IRB Player of the Year equalled Joost van der Westhuizen’s record of 38 tries in the green and gold when he scored against Italy in East London.Habana, however, has since gone 10 Tests without adding his name to the score sheet.

“Whether you contribute on attack, defence or through you work rate, you have to make sure it is a positive contribution,” Habana said.

“Without my team-mates around me, those stats wouldn’t mean anything.”At the 2007 global showpiece in France, Habana equalled the record of eight tries in a World Cup set by legendary All Black Jonah Lomu.

The Benoni-bred speedster, though, was not going to let records, or other sideshows, blur his vision.“We are here for a task,” he said.“First of all it is to beat Wales on Sunday, and hopefully win the next six games to win the World Cup.

“We will definitely enjoy the experience New Zealand has to offer, but we are here for business and not for pleasure, so we are looking forward to getting on with it.”

Habana said meticulous planning had gone into Sunday’s opener against Wales after the Boks defeated the All Blacks in their final Tri-Nations game in Port Elizabeth last month.

“First of all you have to approach each and every game in this World Cup very uniquely,” he said.

“After our game against New Zealand a couple of weeks ago, all the effort and focus that went into this World Cup was focused on Wales.

“They are a tough unit that we definitely respect and a great challenge for us first up.”

While he spoke fondly of the passion South Africans showed for rugby, and how it was again on display during their departure from Johannesburg and their arrival in New Zealand, the winger said Wales were just as infatuated with the game.

“The Welsh are one of the most passionate, fiery sides in world rugby, and they bring a good challenge to the table,” Habana said. “We will have to be firing on all cylinders if we want to be successful, and be sure that we are up for a very big first clash.

”During Monday’s session, Habana joined locks Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha and Danie Rossouw in training separately from the rest of the team.

Habana said the last couple of weeks had been taxing from a mental and physical perspective, but added that every player in the squad was fit and ready to go.

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