Habana on track for Twickers

Veteran winger Bryan Habana is set to face England at Twickenham on Saturday, reports JON CARDINELLI in London.

‘I’m worried about Bryan Habana,’ Allister Coetzee said at a media gathering in London on Monday. The Bok coach revealed that Habana was still battling a knee injury. The serious manner in which Coetzee conveyed this news gave one reason to believe that the 123-Test veteran would not be ready for the must-win clash with England on Saturday.

On Tuesday, however, it was confirmed that Habana ran at the training session at the Latymer Upper Fields near White City. Assistant coach Matt Proudfoot said that Habana showed no signs of discomfort.

Coetzee has some big calls to make ahead of the tour-defining clash. The Bok coach told the travelling media that there is ‘a plan in place’ to offset the recent loss of openside flanker Roelof Smit. On Tuesday, Proudfoot reiterated that the Boks had a plan, although he didn't go into detail or reveal who may actually start in the loose trio.

The selection of the back three may be just as important, with rain forecast for Saturday’s Test and England expected to pepper the Boks with a series of high kicks. With this assault in mind, Coetzee may opt for his most experienced back-three combination.

The news that Habana and JP Pietersen are both on the mend is encouraging in that respect. Coetzee does have other options in this department, though.

Ruan Combrinck and Willie le Roux have both recovered from their respective injuries. Johan Goosen has been in good form for his club Racing 92 in France, and may be used at fullback. Jamba Ulengo made a case for his inclusion on the wing with a powerful performance against the Barbarians last Saturday.

Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

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Jon Cardinelli