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Boks must shore up their defence: Habana


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Bryan Habana says that he hopes that South Africa will be able to rectify the defensive errors that allowed the British and Irish Lions to outscore them by two tries to two.

The Lions scored three tries but could have scored more had TMO decisions gone their way. Essentially the Lions lost on penalties which were awarded for scrum infringements.

The Springbok winger was concerned by the defensive lapses which allowed the Lions to come back at them in the final quarter in the first test in Durban.

Coach de Villiers’ team was well in front going into the final quarter and leading by 19 points before the Lions found their feet and the Springboks went to the bench.

The Springboks managed to hold on and win 26-21 and Habana is hoping they will learn from what happened in the first test.

“I don’t think there was much wrong with our defensive system,” he told PA Sport.

“I think there were a couple of times where we made wrong decisions as individuals, myself included.”

“And that posed a big question for us in defence where we had to scramble a lot for each other.”

“I think we respected their backs and that’s without saying we knew it’s going to be a tough task.”

“That said, we give ourselves goals and set ourselves certain standards. As backs, maybe we let ourselves down a little bit, putting a little extra pressure on ourselves.”

“But like I said, what happened on Saturday was done and dusted there.”

“There were mistakes and as a team we will try and rectify them in this coming week.”

26-year-old Habana will be making his 48th Test appearance for South Africa at Loftus Versfeld and insists that winning the series is all that matters to the Springboks.

“We’ll take the win, whether it was by five points, one point or by 50. The first Test was always going to be vitally important.”

“We’re professionals and when you get selected to play for the Springboks, no matter where you play, you’ve got to take responsibility and I definitely feel that we have the calibre of players at the moment to take that responsibility.”

The Springbok backline was not as impressive as the Lions backline and Habana had a quiet game by his standards and has even come in for criticism from some quarters about the way he played.

But the recent Super 14 winner says that he was happy with his contribution,”I think when you play Test match rugby and especially when you only have a series every 12 years against the Lions, the most important factor is that you make a contribution towards a successful team.”

“I think defensively, I was really happy with where I was on Saturday.”

“Like I say, whether I’m scoring tries or making turnover tackles, I think that’s quite important.”

“It’s always nice to score tries, but I think when you got a series as massively important as this one, then just winning is probably the most important thing.”

“It wasn’t very nice not getting onto the scoreboard, but the contribution that each and every player made for that 80 minutes was vitally important, whether it was on attack or defence.”

Habana says that he is relishing the return to his provincial home,”Loftus has been really great for me and I really love playing there. It’s a special place for me,” he said.

“So hopefully I’ll be able to do something in the next couple of weeks and go enjoy a possible whitewash, but until that happens, my contribution to the team will be a lot different and we’ll see where it goes from there.”

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