Bryan Habana named to play 100th Test
September 3, 2014
Bryan Habana is as willing as ever to undertake the hard tasks © Getty Images
Bryan Habana will win his 100th Test cap when South Africa play Australia in the third round of the Rugby Championship at Patersons Stadium in Perth on Saturday, for which game Heyneke Meyer has made six changes to the starting line-up that defeated Argentina in Salta recently.
Morne Steyn and Jan Serfontein will start inside Habana in the backline, while Meyer has included Marcell Coetzee, Victor Matfield, Adriaan Strauss and Tendai Mtawarira in the pack. As a result of these changes, Bismarck du Plessis, Lood de Jager and Damian de Allende drop to the replacements, while Trevor Nyakane, Marcel van der Merwe and Pat Lambie will join them alongside uncapped Warren Whiteley on the bench.
"We were always planning in moving our personnel around during the competition," Meyer said of his selection. "The only new player in the team is Warren, whom I'm very happy for and excited to see what he can do. He covers all three positions in the loose trio and can make an impact later in the game.
"It's also good to see Pat back in the frame. He's completed his comeback from a long-term injury and will provide necessary bench cover for fly-half and fullback.
"Saturday's Test against Australia will take a massive effort from every member of our squad. We're not looking at their recent result against New Zealand, and we know they will be a tough opponent.
"Similarly, we need to move on from our victories over Argentina, which are now in the past. This is a new challenge and one we have to overcome to stay alive in the competition."
Habana's selection sees him become the fourth Springboks player to play 100 rugby Tests - after Percy Montgomery, John Smit - and the three-time South African Rugby Player of the Year and 2007 IRB Rugby Player of the Year will lead the team out in recognition out his record.
"This is an unbelievable achievement by Bryan, who is someone every South African can be immensely proud of," Meyer said. "Bryan is a true professional and someone who never gives anything but his best, on the field and off it. For him to reach this magnificent milestone is just reward for years of dedication and hard work.
"Apart from scoring tries and always giving 100% on the field, Bryan is also a humble servant to the game and a true ambassador for his family, his friends and his country. He will go down in history as one of the greatest rugby players of all time."
Springboks: Willie le Roux; Cornal Hendricks, Jan Serfontein, Jean de Villiers (captain), Bryan Habana; Morne Steyn, Ruan Pienaar; Duane Vermeulen, Marcell Coetzee, Francois Louw; Victor Matfield, Eben Etzebeth; Jannie du Plessis, Adriaan Strauss, Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: Bismarck du Plessis, Trevor Nyakane, Marcel van der Merwe, Lood de Jager, Warren Whiteley, Francois Hougaard, Pat Lambie, Damian de Allende.
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