Lambie is key against Oz, says Habana

2011-10-07 00:00

WELLINGTON — Springbok winger Bryan Habana says even the prospect of the reigning world champion losing to Australia in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals would be “unacceptable” to the South African public.

“We set ourselves goals and we’re realistic about how good we are and how far we can go and as individuals,” Habana said, “And as a team we truly believe we can go all the way.”

Habana said South Africa are not considering the possibility of defeat on Sunday, despite only winning one of the last five head-to-heads in the last two seasons — including home and away losses in this season’s Tri-Nations.

“They’ve got the edge over us at the moment, but in a knockout game that means nothing,” he said. “It’s a do-or-die game for 80 minutes and we’ve both got an opportunity to progress, so I don’t think history will count for much.”

Habana said the Springboks can rely on experience with so many survivors from its World Cup victory in France four years ago.

“In a competition like this it’s going to come down to decision making,” he said. “The team and individuals that make the best decisions and the most accurate decisions will come out on top.”

Habana tipped fullback Patrick Lambie, one of the youngest members of the South African lineup, as one of the key figures in the match.

“He almost single-handedly won a Currie Cup last year and he’s really put his hand up in the Super Rugby competition this year. I’ve a lot of faith in his ability,” he said.

“Not only is he a great rugby player, but he’s a fantastic person off the field, as well.”

He hoped the weather would not be the determining factor on Sunday. A wet day would hinder the Australian backs and ensure a forward-dominated tussle.

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