- Title: Habana praises wingers but says substance comes over style for Boks
- Date: 24th October 2019
- Summary: TOKYO, JAPAN (OCTOBER 24, 2019) (REUTERS) FORMER SOUTH AFRICAN WINGER, BRYAN HABANA, PUTTING ON MICROPHONE FOR INTERVIEW (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER SOUTH AFRICAN WINGER, BRYAN HABANA, SAYING: "I think for me, looking at (South African wingers) Cheslin Kolbe and Makazole Mapimpi it has really been, I wouldn't say a breath of fresh air, but it's been really enjoyable to see the manner in which they approached the game. Cheslin, obviously for me, perfectly fits the description of dynamite comes in small packages and I have been saying it over the last 18 months, he has been lighting up fields around Europe, the world. It was incredibly nice to see him get, you know, that first test start in New Zealand last year, you know, scoring a try in his first game and he has just continued building on that. In Europe, we have seen him absolutely dominate and be as dazzling as what any player in Europe is." HABANA CHATTING (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER SOUTH AFRICAN WINGER, BRYAN HABANA, SAYING: "And then Makazole Mapimpi, you know, has just been grafting away in South Africa at the Sharks in Super Rugby. He got his opportunity this year and it's incredibly, incredibly good and nice to see his try-scoring rate, to see his work-rate and to see all the things that as a player you work towards coming to fruition. And Long may it continue. I know there is a certain Rugby World Cup record tournament try-scoring record that stands and as much as it would probably be sad to lose it, it would be incredibly special to see a, you know, a South African or a South African or two actually break that record." RUGBY WORLD CUP JAPAN 2019 LOGO ON HABANA'S SHIRT/ HABANA TALKING (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER SOUTH AFRICAN WINGER, BRYAN HABANA, SAYING: "So, for me, as a winger, you love to get your hands on the ball and I know both Cheslin and Makazole - and S'busiso Nkosi, who I rated incredibly highly also - would love to be getting their hands on the ball. But within a team context, I think they understand their roles and responsibilities and they are doing that role and that responsibility incredibly well. When they get an opportunity or get an opportunity to finish, they're finishing it off. So, I think we would all love to see the ball getting to the wings a lot more (but) in a World Cup year, where the margins are just so fine, do I mind if they don't but the team is winning? Probably not." VARIOUS OF HABANA CHATTING (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER SOUTH AFRICAN WINGER, BRYAN HABANA, SAYING "Is size now in direct in correlation to what type of rugby player you get? I honestly don't believe that. I think, if you are good, it doesn't matter what size you are and you can get onto the international stage. It is brilliant to see guys like Cheslin and Makazole doing well because in South Africa, you know, we had the likes of Gio Aplon, who potentially didn't get that much exposure because of his size and to now see someone like Cheslin come and grab the opportunity. We had Brent Russell, who was called the 'pocket rocket,' so I don't think it's a new thing, I just think, you know, people are potentially of a mindset that of, you know, rugby is these big, brute-force type people that just go forward, and all of a sudden these guys that are exciting, that are scintillating, that have dazzling feet, are incredibly quick and nippy, you know, can cause absolute havoc for the defences. And I think that is something that, going forward, it's not about what size of rugby player you are, it's actually about what goods you can produce on the field." HABANA CHATTING RUGBY WORLD CUP JAPAN 2019 LOGO ON HABANA'S SHIRT SLEEVE
- Embargoed: 7th November 2019 02:21
- Keywords: Bryan Habana Rugby World Cup Japan 2019 South Africa Wales Cheslin Kolbe Mapimpi
- Location: TOKYO, JAPAN
- City: TOKYO, JAPAN
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Rugby Union,Sport
- Reuters ID: LVA001B2GFQKF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:As a former Rugby World Cup winning winger himself, it comes as no surprise that Bryan Habana wants to see the ball in the hands of current South African fliers Cheslin Kolbe and Makazole Mapimpi in Sunday's (October 27) semi-final against Wales.
However, Habana, who is the joint highest try scorer in a single World Cup, is also a pragmatist and would be happy to see the Springboks stick to their tight, physical forwards play if it meant delivering a third title.
Sunday's opponents Wales have identified Kolbe as the South African dangerman and there have been some calls for head coach Rassie Erasmus to expand the play and involve his wide men more.
However, Habana, who won the World Cup with South Africa in 2007, stressed that with four successive wins en route to the semi-finals, Erasmus' tactics have so far paid off.
"For me, as a winger, you love to get your hands on the ball and I know both Cheslin and Makazole... would love to be getting their hands on the ball," Habana told Reuters on Thursday (October 24).
The diminutive Kolbe has been one of the stories of the World Cup, having thrilled supporters with his quick feet and electrifying pace.
A member of the South African sevens team that won bronze at the Rio 2016 Olympics, Kolbe only made his test debut last year, having been left out by the previous regime, partly due to playing his club rugby in Europe.
Since then, he has scored seven tries in 13 test matches and combined with Mapimpi, who has already scored five times in Japan, forms a constant threat on the Springboks' flanks.
Kolbe leads a group of smaller fliers, including Welshman Josh Adams and Japanese pairing Kenki Fukuoka and Kotaro Matsushima, in lighting up the tournament and changing perceptions of what is needed from a modern winger.
Habana's eight tries at the 2007 World Cup are tied with New Zealand pair Jonah Lomu and Julian Savea for most ever in a single tournament.
Habana would not mind if Mapimpi scored four more in South Africa's remaining matches to break his record.
South Africa face Wales on Sunday, with reigning champions New Zealand playing England in the other semi-final on Saturday.
(Production: Jack Tarrant)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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