Habana: No advantage in English plans

PA Sport
Bryan Habana does not think England's preparations will hinder South Africa when the two meet
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Bryan Habana does not think England's preparations will hinder South Africa when the two meet

South Africa wing Bryan Habana claims England's extra preparation will have little bearing once their Test series gets under way.

The majority of England's squad will have been together for almost two weeks - and a significant proportion for longer - by the time the action starts with Saturday's first Test in Durban. By contrast, a Springboks squad reshaped due to retirements and injuries have only met up with new coach Heyneke Meyer this week following the latest round of Super 15 games.

But Habana, the most experienced member with 74 caps, said: "I don't think it gives them the upper hand. The experience they have had as a team together during the Six Nations and in their preparations over the last two weeks is definitely going to benefit them, but I don't think it is going to make a difference."

He continued: "On the other side of the coin we have got an unbelievably talented group of youngsters who want to go out there and show how good they are and how much they want to wear that Springbok jersey with pride.

"We understand the brutality of Super rugby - we have been toiling at it for the last 14 weeks, guys putting their bodies on the line. That might benefit us.

"Come Saturday afternoon at Kings Park stadium - I think it is going to be a real titanic clash. I think the team that is willing to put their bodies on the line and want it more will come out victorious."

Meyer's 32-man squad contains nine uncapped players and six others with less than 10 appearances. But Habana claims that neither the number of new faces, nor the limited training time together are issues.

The 28-year-old speedster said: "It has changed quite drastically but it is an exciting new era. Seeing the vibe, the energy and the willingness of the guys at training was pretty enjoyable.

"Sometimes you forget what a privilege it is to represent your country but when you see the youngsters, and how much they want to feed and take it in, it takes you back to when you got your first cap. It is a huge privilege to be called up.

"There is a great energy, a great vibe, but that all comes to nothing if you don't go out and perform on Saturday. I'm looking forward to that challenge."

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