Habana backs English fight back
25 Nov 2008
Bryan Habana has drawn comparisons with England’s poor form to the state the Boks were in only two years ago.
England face the likelihood of three losses in a row at Twickenham when they face the Grand Slam-seeking All Blacks this weekend, but the Bok winger has given some encouragement to the beleaguered Poms. He equates their situation to that of the Boks’ disastrous run in 2006, highlighting the 49-0 drubbing by the Wallabies as a low-point.
Habana feels the English will rise from this slump, just as the Boks did when they toppled the All Blacks 21-20 in Rustenburg. “As much as people are discrediting England, we were in the same boat in 2006 when we lost five games in a row. We got a 49-0 beating in Brisbane, but went on to win a World Cup a year later,” Habana told The Telegraph.
Pressure is mounting on manager Martin Johnson, but Habana feels the English have to stick with him, as the Boks did with Jake White in 2006. It was the Boks’ third year under White, while Johnson has only had three games at the helm, but Habana believes reverting back to what has brought them success in the past will aid in the recovery.
“I think this England side has got potential and there is a lot of exciting talent. In someone like Martin Johnson they have a guy who has amazing leadership capabilities and, if they stick to what has been working for English rugby in the last two years, I can see them going in an upward curve,’ said Habana.
“We continually got a hiding in 2006. It seemed the more we tried the harder it got. The more you wanted to change things the worse it got.”
The Bok winger was prominent on defence and scored a late try in the 42-6 win at Twickenham, but despite the scoreline he said it was a physically-taxing encounter. “As much as everyone is writing off the English, I don’t think my body would be feeling as sore as it is if they did not put up a bit of a fight.
“They are renowned for what they do and the way they bounce back.”