Bryan Habana has lauded Siya Kolisi’s Springboks as a special side and said their style of play should be viewed in the context of the journey the team was on, writes GASANT ABARDER.
In the build-up to South Africa’s second Rugby Championship Test against Australia at the Suncorp Stadium on Saturday, Habana told SA Rugby magazine that the Boks were winning despite have very little rugby under the belt.
The 2007 Rugby World Cup winning winger’s comments followed remarks by former England coach Sir Clive Woodward that the Boks’ style of play would kill Test rugby.
The self-confessed tech junkie was in a wetsuit on Friday to support both Laureus Sports Foundation winners Waves for Change and to get a sneak peak of the new GoPro Hero 10 launched at Surfers’ Corner at Cape Town’s Muizenberg Beach.
“We’ve heard Jacques Nienaber and Rassie Erasmus say many times that we play towards our strengths. The Springboks have always been a physically dominant side in terms of their physical attributes – particularly up front. We all know about that World Cup final in 2019 and seeing Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe score those incredible tries,” he said.
“But more than that, the way we came through the Lions series – having not actually played international rugby for two years – was something to watch. I think everyone is entitled to their opinions. But I think many us are having to listen to many disgruntled rugby supporters saying the brand of rugby the Springboks are playing isn’t that attractive.
“We do want to win over new fans to what we all know is a very special game and for opinions to be had. Jacques Nienaber and Siya Kolisi going into this weekend after last weekend’s loss when we were expected to win, they would have learnt quite a bit about themselves and where they are in terms of their own growth and their journey.
“Hopefully we can see some incredible rugby being played… I mean, we did see the Springboks outscore the Wallabies by three tries to one last week.”
For Habana, it was almost more exciting to see what was happening off the field. And he has called for South Africans to get behind Kolisi’s men.
“It’s exciting times in South African rugby and no more so than seeing Siya Kolisi becoming the first black African captain in our history and take them to World Cup glory. The manner in which all these players are coming together and putting their best foot forward – taking South Africa to the top echelons of rugby – is very special,” he said.
“Being on the other side of the field, I feel incredibly proud of what this team has achieved. It is incredibly special. Hopefully, as a country we can all get behind the boys and the journey they’re on and see the inspiration they truly are. When we’re winning it’s easy but it’s through the losses that we truly need to get behind this team as South Africans.”
Habana, as an ambassador at the Laureus Sports Foundation, worked with children from Waves for Change at the beach on Friday. The Non-Profit Organisation began in 2009 as a small, informal weekend surf club for a handful of children from Masiphumelele.
It recently won an international Laureus award. In 2021, Waves for Change aims to reach 1 800 child participants across five sites. The programme is delivered by 40 community-based youth, between the ages of 18-25, who are trained as Surf Therapy Coaches over two-years.