South Africa backs coach Dick Muir has jumped to the defence of Bryan Habana after the 2007 IRB Player of the Year was accused by Australia legend David Campese of “resting on his laurels” since winning the World Cup.
Sporting Life reports that Habana has scored only one try in his last eight Test matches, and Muir concedes his star player has not hit the same dizzy heights as he scaled during 2007 – but he is confident this is merely a temporary blip for the world’s fastest rugby player.
“I’d most definitely (reject that suggestion),” Muir said.
“You can’t have any players who are resting on their laurels in this side, the competition is so intense and if one player isn’t pulling his weight, he will be replaced.
“I just think that the old phrase about form being temporary but class being forever stands strong for Bryan. He is a classy player and he has shown that in the past.
“He works hard, he really has worked hard. He’s a great personality in the side, he brings a lot to the team, he’s one of those energetic guys who is always all over the show.
“And although his form hasn’t been the greatest of late, he has been working really hard so we expect him to bounce back any minute.”
Muir revealed the Springboks are determined to exorcise the demons of a disappointing performance and rather fortuitous victory over Wales last weekend when they take on Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday.
“If the conditions are good and favourable, we’d like to move the ball around a bit,” he said.
“But, if not, then we’ve got to adapt. I think our performance last week wasn’t that good and we want to improve on that this week.
“Although we got the result we wanted last week, we didn’t play the way we wanted to play because of a number of factors.
“Our penalty count was way too high and we gave away far too much possession, so we really want to improve in those departments and be a more complete side.
“We’ve placed a lot of emphasis on defence this week because our missed tackle stats last week were incredibly high.
“The Scottish side like to have a go as a team, they’ll move the ball around, and they like to keep possession for long periods, so we’ll have to be sharp in our defence, and I’ll think you’ll see a marked improvement there.”Tweet