I note, with some distaste, some quotes attributed to Bok coach Peter de Villiers in an article on Sport24 this morning. The Bok mentor appears to openly acknowledge that Bryan Habana’s poor form is all as a result of of the fact that he is a single try away from holding the record for the most tries for the Springboks all on his own.
“Bryan is just trying too hard at the moment to get that one try that stands between him and the record,” De Villiers told Stephen Nell. The WP winger, on 38 test tries, currently shares the record with Joost van der Westhuizen. Perhaps more concerning, though, is that he last scored a test try on 26 June against Italy and has gone scoreless in his last 8 test matches. It’s not only his try-scoring that has tailed off in recent times, though; his overall form has been frankly woeful over this period as well, with defence in particular a glaring weakness.
The fact that a raw 18-year-old in Welsh Winger George North managed to score two tries, on debut, down Habana’s wing is testament to exactly how shoddy this aspect (as well as most others) of Habana’s pay has become.
Once again, I fear our dear coach has put his foot in it, though. “That milestone draws so much energy out of you. I think everything will be back to normal if Bryan can just get one try,” he admits. But this thinking is so backwards it simply defies belief. Habana is in the team to help the team win matches and as a professional, he needs to find a way to put his personal accomplishments and glory to one side, just the way John Smit or Victor Matfield have done. The team does not exist to help Habana reach the record and if the player is unable to carry his weight on the field, he should be dropped until he can find a way to get his head into the right place again.
Bok rugby is nowhere near healthy enough at this stage to carry any passengers. Habana needs to get his head around this – and fast. It’s about the team, first, foremost and solely. Anything else is a bonus.Tweet