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Boks won’t take foot off pedal again: Habana

Bryan Habana is hoping that South Africa will rectify the defensive errors made in the first Test against the British and Irish Lions when they take on the tourists in a potential series-decider in Pretoria this week.

The Springbok winger was referring to the way in which the home side let their opponents come back into the game in the closing 12 minutes in Durban.

Peter de Villiers' team were well in front at that stage leading by 19 points, before a flurry of substitutions by the coach, including the withdrawal of captain John Smit three minutes earlier, coupled by a late Lions fightback almost cost them the game.

In the end, they eventually held on to prevail 26-21 and Habana is hoping they will learn from what happened at the Absa Stadium.

“I don't think there was much wrong with our defensive system,” he said. “I think there were a couple of times where we made wrong decisions as individuals, myself included.

“And that posed a big question for us in defence where we had to scramble a lot for each other. I think we respected their backs and that's without saying we knew it's going to be a tough task.

“That said, we give ourselves goals and set ourselves certain standards.

“But like I said, what happened on Saturday was done and dusted there. There were mistakes and as a team we will try and rectify them in this coming week.”

The 26-year-old, who will make his 48th Test appearance for South Africa at Loftus Versfeld, insists all that mattered in the series opener was gaining the victory.

He continued: “We'll take the win, whether it was by five points, one point or by 50. The first Test was always going to be important.

By his own high standards Habana had a quiet game going forward on the coast, and has even come in for criticism from some quarters about the way he played.

But the Bulls ace revealed that he was happy with his contribution, saying: “I think when you play Test match rugby and especially when you only have a series every 12 years against the Lions, the most important factor is that you make a contribution towards a successful team.

“I think defensively, I was really happy with where I was on Saturday. Like I say, whether I'm scoring tries or making turnover tackles, I think that's quite important.

Belfast Telegraph


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