KSA Shark ©

Habana alerted to Halfpenny threat

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Springboks on 5 Nov 2008 at 07:48

Leigh Halfpenny is making headline news for Wales this week – and Springboks superstar Bryan Habana has read all about it.

Andrew Baldock writes for PA Sport that Halfpenny, 19, will become the 60th teenager to represent Wales in 590 Tests when he lines up against South Africa on Saturday.

And World Cup winner Habana, one of the international game’s deadliest finishers with 31 tries, is the man set to mark him.

Habana said: “I have heard about him in the newspapers this week, and I heard he has had quite a good season over here.

“I have not seen a lot of his play, but I have heard a lot, and I will probably be doing a lot of analysis on him leading into the Test match.

“Any guy on the wing is going to be a great test for me.”

Wales boss Warren Gatland and his coaching staff have encouraged Halfpenny to enjoy the occasion, although it will be a huge ask for the Cardiff Blues wing.

He has played just seven matches of top-flight rugby but Gatland had no intention of adopting a perceived safety-first selection approach.

Gatland said: “At 19 years old our message to Leigh has been to just go out there and enjoy himself. He needs to play without fear and enjoy the experience.

“The last thing he needs from us is to start talking too much about Bryan Habana, because he could get more worked up and nervous. He needs to go out there and really enjoy the occasion.

“The message to him will be to have some fun. A few months ago he was in the (Wales) Under-20s looking up to these guys, thinking it might be a number of years before he got there, but now he will be running out on the field with them.

“The great thing about Leigh is that he’s a wing who has been scoring tries. He should go into the game with nothing to fear.

“We could have gone conservative in selection and put someone like Tom Shanklin in there, but just because you are inexperienced doesn’t mean you are not good enough to step up to the plate.”

Halfpenny, who averages one try per match for the Blues, will be joined on Saturday by fellow debutant and Blues colleague Andy Powell.

Powell packs down in the back-row alongside Martyn Williams and skipper Ryan Jones, with the captain accommodating him by being moved to blindside flanker.

But Ospreys hooker Huw Bennett, who was injured on EDF Energy Cup duty two days ago, is another absentee, with Scarlets’ Matthew Rees coming in.

Bennett’s untimely ankle problem is likely to sideline him for the entire autumn series. Wales also face Canada, New Zealand and Australia this month.

And Gatland has sprung a surprise at scrum-half, preferring Gloucester’s Gareth Cooper to the more experienced Dwayne Peel, who has to content himself with a place on the bench.

Gavin Henson and 6ft 4in Jamie Roberts forge a new-look centre combination – Roberts has already played wing and full-back in his short Test career – while Stephen Jones edges out James Hook at fly-half.

As for the challenge facing South Africa, Habana added: “Wales are Six Nations champions and have formed great combinations over the years.

“This Test match is going to be a tough one, and we hope that focusing on one game at a time works for us in this three-week tour process.”


  • No Worries, Habana is quite a bit older than Halfpenny so he won’t get past Habs.

    Habs respects his elders though…… 😉

  • Comment 1, posted at 05.11.08 07:53:14 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 1) :

  • Comment 2, posted at 05.11.08 07:58:59 by Ice Sharkadelic Babe Reply
  • A few of those inspired Habs RWC tackles wouldn’t go amiss… but in saying I’d rather see him racing with clean (you listening forwards) ball in hand…

  • Comment 3, posted at 05.11.08 08:09:36 by bryce_in_oz Reply
  • Wow, Ive just heard about Habs hearing about Halfpenny in the newspapers this week. 😯

  • Comment 4, posted at 05.11.08 08:40:11 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @Salmonoid (Comment 4) : heh heh

  • Comment 5, posted at 05.11.08 15:11:15 by knersboy Reply
  • 60th teenager? 😯

  • Comment 6, posted at 05.11.08 17:41:53 by McLovin Reply
  • Has Halfpenny been asked how he feels about covering Matfield? 😉

  • Comment 7, posted at 05.11.08 17:42:46 by McLovin Reply
  • @McLovin (Comment 7) :

    😆 😆 Especially since Matfield says the boks have to confront the Dragons. 🙄

  • Comment 8, posted at 05.11.08 17:49:04 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 8) : I hope he looks up the word confront in the dictionary sometime before the match. 🙄

  • Comment 9, posted at 05.11.08 19:03:12 by McLovin Reply
  • @Salmonoid (Comment 4) :

    You didn’t think PDV’s Boks do video analysis well ahead of time did you? 😯

  • Comment 10, posted at 06.11.08 02:02:19 by bryce_in_oz Reply
  • At least we know Habana won’t need change for a Halfpenny.
    Har, har, har! 🙄

  • Comment 11, posted at 06.11.08 08:19:57 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @bryce_in_oz (Comment 10) :
    Why do annalysis before the game when, you are, for all intents and purposes working on possibilites and probabilities – rather do it within 24 hours after the final whistle, that way all the grey areas can be covered and what transpired was real. 😉

  • Comment 12, posted at 06.11.08 08:34:03 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @Big Fish (Comment 11) : Surely Hab’s got the better half 🙄

  • Comment 13, posted at 06.11.08 09:07:07 by Charlie Reply

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