fast little loans
It was such a mess in Mendoza for the Springboks that nothing less than victory over the Wallabies on Saturday will be acceptable.
And after the Boks arrived here on Sunday ahead of the Rugby Championship clash at Paterson’s Stadium (formerly Subiaco Oval), senior Springbok Bryan Habana says he wants to create “new memories” at one of his most productive venues.
Habana, who is the most-capped player in the 28-man squad (79 Tests), has been on the losing side only once in Perth (in 2008) and has scored four tries in three matches in the west-coast city. The Stormers No 11’s most memorable moment came in his first outing at the old Subiaco Oval in 2005, when he got the ball inside the Bok 22 and raced down the left-hand touchline to score the winning try, his second on the night.
He also got a brace in the 2009 victory on the way to the Tri-Nations title, with his only defeat coming in 2008. “I have been able to score a good couple of tries! It’s been a good ride, but it’s always a tough Test match. When I came here for the first time in 2005 and scored those two tries, the game was in the balance until the last 10 minutes.
“Then we got a turnover in our 22, and me running the length of the field to score was the difference. In 2009, literally the bounce of the ball from an up-and-under changed the game,” Habana said at a media briefing at the team hotel here yesterday. “I have some good memories here, and hopefully Saturday will be the start of new memories. One can’t live in the past and what you’ve achieved – as great as it has been, my role in this team is to make a contribution as a senior player and wing. By doing that on numerous occasions this weekend, I would be playing my part to help the team be successful.”
But Habana will need the whole Bok team to wake from their slumber in Mendoza against Argentina last week if they hope to beat the Wallabies, who have won the last four games between the two teams. Bok coach Heyneke Meyer’s predictable gameplan has come under fire from all quarters, but Habana believes that the players also need to take responsibility for their sub-standard performance.
“I’ve been with Heyneke a few times over the years, and the plan that he wants to put out has paid a lot of dividends in the past. So, it’s not about stagnating, but rather laying a foundation and using our talents to our advantage. We don’t only pride ourselves on our defence, but on holding on to the ball. That was something we weren’t able to do in Mendoza,” he said.
“When you look a week earlier at the Newlands game, we created ample opportunities, and one or two bounces of the ball, and you might have seen us score four or five tries. There have been glimpses of that this year, and in our game analysis last week, we saw that we held the ball for up to 11, 12, 14 phases and getting great momentum. We just lost the ball in crucial areas and crucial times.
“I think we, as a team, all believe in the gameplan that the coach intends for us to play. Within that gameplan, there is more than enough room for individual brilliance and individual talent to shine through. I definitely don’t think that Heyneke has restricted any player in terms of making good decisions. That’s what rugby is all about – making good, informed decisions and executing when those situations occur.”
Habana said that he is now over his ankle injury that saw him come off the field in the first two Rugby Championship Tests against Argentina, but there is still concern over hooker Adriaan Strauss’s knee problem. Strauss’s left knee was heavily strapped up during the flight from Johannesburg to Perth Strauss will have an extra day to recover as the Boks won’t train today as they try to overcome jet-lag, and will only have a gym session.
If Strauss is not ready by tomorrow, it could see Stormers No 2 Tiaan Liebenberg winning his first start after making his debut off the bench in Mendoza. The third hooker in the squad is Craig Burden from the Sharks. Loose forward Francois Louw will also join up with the Boks in Perth today after playing for Bath in England at the weekend. Louw could play a role off the bench, with Duane Vermeulen possibly starting on debut at No 8, which would see Willem Alberts move back to blindside flank for Jacques Potgieter. – Cape Times