Sky Sports Rugby talks to Bryan Habana, a former Springbok 124-cap, to hear his thoughts about South Africa’s Test victory over the Lions. He also discusses the potential impact Rassie Erasmus’ 62-minute video on officials.
Sky Sports Rugby Union
Last updated: 03/08/21 at 6:00am
Bryan Habana, a Springbok legend, writes his fourth column on this British-Irish Lions tour. He examines South Africa’s second Test win, Rassie Erasmus off-field antics and Lions changes.
Habana shares his reflections about the second victory of the Springboks against the British and Irish Lions…
The Springboks’ second-half performance in the half was a marvel to see, despite a difficult week on the field and an unflinching first half that was more than 64 minutes long.
There was obviously a lot going on in the lead-up to the Test match. You felt like all that was happening was in the game’s first stanza.
“Almost all refereeing decisions were questioned or referred the TMO Saturday. Although the first part should have taken 40 minutes, it took 64 minutes. This is two minutes more than Rassie Erasmus controversial video.
The Springbok camp will feel happy, given everything that has happened in the past 18 months and the entire last month.
“I told the series ahead that I would love for it to be a series decider. The tour absolutely needs it.”
“The tour requires a series decider more than all of the on-field antics right now, as you start to worry about the future.”
Habana’s 62-minute YouTube video by Rassie Erasmus criticizing referees and how it affected the second Test officials…
We chatted last week, before the video was published, and I supported Erasmus’s coming out, while highlighting some things after the Test. This is in contrast to Warren Gatland, who a week earlier called out the TMO.
Gatland’s influence on Marius Jonker’s decisions in the Test match was evident.
Rassie Erasmus’s 62 minute video was a huge influence on how the proceedings went and what they did.
“I can understand Rassie’s frustrations regarding clarity and communication but it doesn’t seem like a fair view of the game.
World Rugby might have been able to stop the situation in its tracks if it had issued a statement several weeks before. We might have already seen World Rugby taking action against Rassie by the time that this article is published.
We don’t want it to be a one-way street, each move being scrutinized and debated.
Referees do a difficult job. One of the best things about rugby, however, is our respect for them.
“Erasmus’ 62-minute video had an unquestionable impact on the first 60 minutes’ of rugby that we watched.”
Habana expressed confidence in Saturday’s victory for South Africa…
“There is a lot of confidence now in Springbok camp, so kudos also to Stephen Kitshoff for playing his 50th Test.
They will certainly enter this third match in Test with an ascendency, I believe.
Everyone knows what the Springboks will do with rugby.
The Lions were unable to stop the Lions in the first test and certainly not in the second.
“We are not sure how the Lions want to play rugby right now, from a Lions’ perspective. One feels that the weak opposition in the Test Series did little to help.
Springboks can be comfortable fighting in kick battles, but they are more at ease in forward fights.
You feel SA will be extremely confident entering this. It is Test match rugby and it will decide the series. I am nervous.
“I’ll be wearing my Springbok Budgy Smugglers once again!”
Habana discusses the tactics of the Lions in their defeat…
The Lions didn’t receive any rewards from their kick game. If you go back one week, the Boks showed tremendous improvement in their set pieces, especially during the second period when the Bomb Squad was making its impact.
It wasn’t only their improvement in kick receipts and pressure, they also didn’t give away constant penalties. There were seven or more penalties per test in the second half.
You’re giving penalties to the opposition, which means you are giving them yardage at no cost. This can lead you to constantly trying and getting out of your own half. You make more errors by doing this.
The Lions couldn’t escape their own half. Their mistakes were making or they gave away silly penalties, which is a complete turn around from week 1.
Habana discusses the possible Lions changes in the third series-deciding Test…
They did a good job from a pack standpoint in the first part. It was 9-6 in the morning, and I didn’t know if they had the strength to make it through the day.
They’d already lost 29-5 to the Springboks in both the SA A’ match and the first Test match. You were curious about what the Springboks would do.
It is the close of an extended season for the Lions. They’ve been trapped in a bubble. But where are you going?
Owen Farrell could be structurally or tactically able to get in. Conor Murray was everywhere on the field but Cheslin Kolbe’s incident wasn’t great.
From a pack perspective bring in Tadhg Beirne. Although I am not sure what it is.
“I’m not sure. “I don’t know. But Warren Gatland, I’m sure, isn’t afraid to make big decisions and major changes. Like in 2013, when Brian O’Driscoll wasn’t included for the series decider.
Farrell would be my choice. Farrell is someone that I look up to. His natural talent makes him a winner. I believe the Lions could use a bit more of his grunt.
Habana discusses potential back-three adjustments for the Lions in the lead up to the third Test…
To be completely honest, Josh Adams was a surprise to me not making the Test team.
Duhan van der Merwe was amazing throughout the Tour and has proven that he’s more than just a bolter. He also achieved a lot in the first Test.
The Tests were a complete reversal of roles for the back-three. The South Africans were not great at chasing the ball and under pressure in Test 1. They had some really strong blockers.
It’s not an easy one. Are you willing to back those who do well in Test 1 or are poor in Test 2?
“Liam Williams, a great player at Test level and an exceptional player in the Lions shirt. Stuart Hogg is a good player and deserves to be part of the team.
Van der Merwe might get a yellow card, but Anthony Watson demonstrated, when he got the ball into space, that at most he could make something happen.
It’s extremely difficult to be a winger if you aren’t given the chance to make an impact in the game.
“Would you make three back-three adjustments? It’s not clear. This is why I don’t coach.
It’s difficult to decide in the third Test match, which is either do or die.
Habana reports on the injuries sustained by Springboks pairing Pieter-Steph Du Toit and Faf De Klerk. Duane Vermeulen’s Return…
I would throw Duane vermeulen back in. “He’s one those players that I think would be a good fit for Test match rugby.
“The reason that I say this is because he fractured a rib in 2013 against Australia and then was named man of the match against the All Blacks the following week.
He is simply so wonderful that his presence is well worth it.
“If Pietersteph du Toit leaves, which would be very sad, as he is the epitome Bok forward, then I’d bring Vermeulen in straight. Then it would come down to a matter of whether you choose Jasper Wiese or Kwagga Smith.
“I believe you need to have a Smith on the side. But I feel Franco Mostert was able to do really well when he moved up the flank. Then you would have Lood De Jager and Eben Etzebeth in the second row. This is very concerning.
Faf de Kleerk may be injured, but I’m sure Jacques Nienaber would give Faf the time he needs to prove himself fit. Herschel Jantjies is waiting for Faf to return to the field. What better way to showcase your skills than to take on the Lions in a series decider? Cobus Reinach, a great player from the bench.
You should then consider Rynard Elstad as a replacement for the bench. He could be able to cover both lock and back row.
Habana with Springboks skipper Siyakolisi during full-time, second Test win…
Siya actually messaged me on Saturday morning. Although I’ve not been the captain of South Africa but I have held positions in Bok teams where it was tough.
“In listening to him interview for Sky Sports prior to the Test with Elma, and having met him in person, I can tell that he did not feel respected equally by officials.
He was so proud of me that I gave him a post-match hug. He continues to inspire me, and many South Africans.
He was able to handle all the pressure and burden. I think he did a great job in the first test, but he showed incredible leadership skills in the second.
“That Robbie Henshaw try-saving tackle was not only massive, it is the best example of Siya’s Springbok love for this side.
He should enjoy it. His positive attitude, singing and encouraging others is what makes him stand out.
“I also wish him luck in what I believe will be an incredible third Test.”
Live British and Irish Lions Tour
August 7, 2021 at 3:30pm
Habana predicts the South Africa vs British & Irish Lions third Test Series decider…
“I’ll go for a Springbok win, at 27-15.
“If they don’t have their combination right in the final week of the tour can the Lions get it right for Test?”
On Sky Sports, Ian McGeechan stated that the Lions Training in the week before the third Test was 2009 was the most memorable. That was an advantage.
“Where? This group of Lions have all to lose.
“Hopefully, we’ll just be talking about rugby. The rugby could win.
“Rugby has not been the clear winner off the field over the past while. Hopefully the on-field performances in this series decider between Boks and Lions will be enough to make it the spectacular it deserves to be.”
Publié at Tue 03 August 2021, 05:08.22 (+0000).