Habana to play 13 for Stormers
February 08, 2012, 15:46:12
I seem to remember Moz calling for this. Similar move to the JP one. Habana was a center in his early days. Important for Stormers if this works out.
Bryan Habana will start at outside centre this Saturday and cover the position in the coming Super Rugby tournament.
The Stormers’ best No 13 option, Juan de Jongh, has still not fully recovered from a jaw injury sustained in the pre-season match against the Lions. Coach Allister Coetzee has decided to trial Habana in the position this week against the Kings, believing that the Bok winger is good enough to handle the responsibility.
It was at outside centre where Habana first attracted attention. He played there for the Lions before he moved to the Bulls and shifted to the wing.
In 2006, then-Bok coach Jake White tried to move Habana back to No 13 for a Test against Ireland in Dublin. The move proved disastrous as Jean de Villiers and Habana failed to gel as a combination, and as an individual Habana was guilty of several errors.
However, Coetzee, who was the Bok backline coach during White’s tenure, said Habana had grown as a defensive player. He also denied that the 2007 IRB Player of the Year has lost pace, and that this is the primary reason for considering Habana as a centre option.
‘No 13 is a very important position for us, and Bryan has a great appreciation for what’s required from a defensive point of view,’ said Coetzee. ‘He will cover that position for us [in Super Rugby]. It’s not that he’s slow [and therefore has to move away from the wing]. He’s the fastest player in our squad.
‘Jaque Fourie set some very high standards in that position [when he was with the Stormers in 2010 and 2011]. He’s very good in terms of organisational ability and his communication, and I believe Bryan also has these strengths. (Please note Dr Moz!)
‘We are not expecting miracles from Bryan in the first game, but it is something we are looking at in the long-term. Jean and Juan are still my first-choice centre combination for the year, but it will help having a player of Bryan’s quality in reserve.’
Coetzee confirmed that the squad selected to play against the Kings is his best available, and that a similar starting XV will front the Hurricanes on 25 February.
Andries Bekker and Duane Vermeulen will make their respective returns to rugby this week after not featuring since the 2011 Super Rugby competition. Coetzee said that he hopes both players will get through 30 minutes.
Dewaldt Duvenage has not been included in the squad because his injury rehabilitation is incomplete. This would suggest that Louis Schreuder will partner Gary van Aswegen in the halfbacks for that first game against the Hurricanes.
In the absence of regular skipper Schalk Burger, who has been rested for this match, De Villiers will lead the side against the Kings.
Meanwhile, Coetzee is yet to confirm his squad of 30 for the Super Rugby competition. However, keo.co.za has it on good authority that the 26 named below will be included, as will Burger, De Jongh, Duvenage and Wicus Blaauw. Peter Grant will only join the side after the competition has kicked off due to club commitments in Japan.
Stormers – 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Bryan Habana, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Gio Aplon, 10 Gary van Aswegen, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Nick Koster, 7 Duane Vermeulen, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Rynhardt Elstadt, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
16 Deon Fourie, 17 Deon Carstens, 18 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 19 Frans Malherbe, 20 Eben Etzebeth, 21 De Kock Steenkamp, 22 Nizaam Carr, 23 Nic Groom, 24 Burton Francis, 25 Marcel Brache, 26 Danie Poolman.
Time to give the queens a severe snotklap!