Bryan Habana talks himself up a lot before games, but is not delivering on the field.
Stephen Nell writes for Die Burger that that was the blunt assessment on Wednesday from legendary former Wallaby wing David Campese when he was asked about the dip in the form of last season’s International Rugby Board Player of the Year.
“It’s difficult to say because neither the Bulls nor the Springboks have been playing consistently well this season. Habana likes to talk himself up before games and then nothing happens,” said Campese.
To date this year Habana has scored one try in eight Tests. His solitary touchdown came in South Africa’s 19-8 defeat to New Zealand in Wellington.
Campese believed Habana should add a new dimension to his game as players are analysed at international level.
“When you play as world champions, other teams will automatically lift their game,” said Campese.
“They are also aware of Habana. It’s as if he is resting on his laurels.
“You have to keep the opposition guessing. Habana has good skills, but pace alone won’t get you everywhere. There aren’t so many opportunities for him anymore to score intercept tries.”
Former Bok wing Chester Williams said Habana should concentrate on his strengths.
“My advice to him would be get involved in the way he did earlier in his career. He is trying hard in other areas,” said Williams.
“Bryan should drop back to support the fullback and field high balls. He is very good under the high ball.”
Williams believes opponents are also reading Habana’s rush defence. It can be adapted to make him a bigger factor on defence so that he can win balls in the tackle.
“They simply use a dummy runner to draw Habana to the inside and then the wing gets behind him,” said Williams.
However, Williams added that a wing can only be effective with proper help from his team-mates.
While Habana is not as big a factor as he was last year, the Bulls won the Super 14 in 2007 and South Africa won the World Cup. This year the Bulls struggled and the Boks have been inconsistent.
“A wing is very dependent on what happens on his inside. The Bok forwards did not create many opportunities against Wales,” said Williams.
“Bryan has also had a few injuries to contend with this year. He will perhaps have to reinvent himself. It’s one thing getting to the top, but quite another staying there.”Tweet