Habana’s the centre of attention

Bryan Habana looks set to start at outside centre when the Springboks play Ireland at Lansdowne Road.

Habana was called into the squad as a replacement for Jaque Fourie who broke his hand in a training session yesterday.

Habana excelled in the No 13 channel against the Golden Lions U21 side in training yesterday and Jake White now seems likely to entrust him with a starting berth in Dublin next Saturday.

The Vodacom Bulls player has a prolific try scoring record at Test level as wing, having scored 16 tries in 22 starts but the positional shift will require minimal adjustment, as the 23-year-old first caught the eye of the Pretoria based-side while playing at outside centre for their northern rivals, the Lions, and has also played there for the SA U21 side.

The Daily News reported that he combined beautifully with inside centre Jean de Villiers and showed no rustiness after not having played at centre for two years.

Meanwhile, Andre Pretorius said he did not feel the pressure to redeem himself after a nightmare tour of the UK in 2002. The 27-year-old flyhalf will be a key player if the Springboks are to succeed in Ireland and England.

“I know it wasn’t my best time in a Bok jersey, but I don’t feel any more nervous now or under any more pressure this time around,” said Pretorius.

“I know there’s a lot of expectation for me to deliver, but rugby’s a team game and if everyone plays according to their ability this team can become one of the best in the world.”

He was adamant that the Springboks move towards shaking their bad traveller tag.

“Not me, nor the team, have anything to prove, but we have to show we can win away from home.”

White seems to have settled on his run-on side for the Lansdowne Road Test if the combinations he has been running in training are an indication. The Boks depart for Dublin on Saturday.

Springbok probable:

15. Bevin Fortuin 14. Akona Ndungane 13. Bryan Habana 12. Jean de Villiers 11. Jaco Pretorius 10. Andre Pretorius 9. Ricky Januarie 8. Pierre Spies 7. Juan Smith 6. Danie Rossouw 5. Albert van den Berg 4. Johan Ackermann 3. Lawrence Sephaka 2. John Smit 1. CJ van der Linde