Habana - defence must improve
Bryan Habana wants South Africa to rectify defensive errors in the second Test against the Lions.
Last Updated: 24/06/09 5:25pm
Bryan Habana expects South Africa to produce an improved defensive display in the second Test against the British and Irish Lions on Saturday.
The Springboks can clinch the three-match series in Pretoria having held on to win the opening Test 26-21 last weekend.
The Lions trailed by 19 points at one point in the series opener but roared back in the closing 12 minutes after South Africa made a flurry of substitutions, including the withdrawal of captain John Smit.
But winger Habana is confident that there will be no repeat of those mistakes.
"I don't think there was much wrong with our defensive system," he said. "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."
The 26-year-old, who will make his 48th Test appearance for South Africa at Loftus Versfeld, insists all that mattered in the series opener was gaining the victory.
He continued: "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."
By his own high standards Habana had a quiet game going forward on the coast, and has even come in for criticism from some quarters about the way he played.
But the Bulls ace revealed that he was happy with his contribution, saying: "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."