Habana plays down try-scoring feat
September 22, 2011
Habana in the process of scoring his record-breaking try © Getty Images
Bryan Habana took the all-time try-scoring record for the Springboks against Namibia on Thursday but both player and coach are keen on focussing on the overall World Cup picture rather than the significance of the feat.
Habana's 22nd minute try meant he surpassed former scrum-half Joost van der Westhuizen in the try-scoring tables with the pair previously neck-and-neck on 38 scores. But after seeing his side run in 12 scores during the course of their 87-0 win over Namibia, coach Peter de Villiers played down the significance of the milestone.
"These things don't matter to the team," de Villiers said. "Before, the World Cup, we said that there will be milestones for players and we will be happy.
"But if their goals don't fit into the team goals, we don't want them in this group. So if we get one or two guys reaching milestones along the way, we will rejoice with them afterwards."
And Habana echoed his coach's sentiment impressing the need to focus on the performance rather than his personal achievement.
"I think other people were more worried about it than I was," Habana said. "I've said it my whole career: it's always been about the Springbok team. It's never been about the number of tries I've been able to score, it's about contributing, and I'm disappointed that I haven't been able to contribute for the last couple of tests.
"Hopefully, now everyone can stop worrying about it and I can concentrate on playing rugby. It's been great, a great honour and privilege to break records and pass someone like Joost. Hopefully, I can keep using my God-given talent to contribute to Springbok rugby."
Sprinboks' Coach de Villiers witnessed a performance littered with errors in spite of the impressive margin. Despite squandering opportunities which would have put his side well into three figures, de Villiers rejected claims that his side would have been punished against more illustrious opposition.
"You are talking about the perfect world, but we're not in a perfect world, we're in New Zealand," he said. "We played a brilliant game once we regrouped. We are very proud of the guys, very, very proud. If we had played another team we would have done things differently."
South Africa were once again skippered by John Smit and he was pleased with the outcome of the match. "Some of things we've worked hardest on are our defence and our scrum work," Smit said. "There'll be bigger tests coming in the future but it was a big step."
Despite a resounding win, South Africa face an anxious wait on the fitness of their lock Bakkies Botha after he limped off with an ankle injury during the second-half. The backroom staff will wait 24 hours before revealing his prognosis.
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