Springbok legend Danie Gerber sees the midfield duel bewteen Bryan Habana and Irish captain Brian O’Driscoll as one that will influence the result at Landsdowne Road.
The responsibility of keeping B.O.D in check was expected to be Jaque Fourie’s, but the Lions centre broke his hand whilst training last week. Habana now faces the challenge of not only playing out of position, but of marking arguably the best centre in the business.
Habana began his career with the Lions at No 13, but has been shifted to the wing since joining the Vodacom Blue Bulls and subsequently the Springboks. Gerber, a former Springbok centre himself, was a bit worried that Habana may have forgotten what it’s like play there.
“Bryan hasn’t played as a centre for a long time. And because he loves looking for the intercept, I’m a little bit worried that he might just move out of his defensive line,” he told Die Son.
But Gerber did see the potential in the former SA Player of the Year moving to centre, as Habana still boasts an array of dangerous attacking attributes. However, he listed the aspect of defence as a priority in Dublin.
“Habana is a ballplayer through and through – and he defends very well, so if he runs into space – off Jean’s [De Villiers] shoulder – and at speed, he can wreak havoc. O’Driscoll is a dangerous player who can easily step off either foot and will have to be carefully marked.
“Positions can be interchanged during the game,” he added. “Jaco Pretorius can swap roles with Brian and move from wing to outside centre if things don’t go according to plan.”
Gerber also commented on the selection of an uncapped back-three, believing these men have done enough this year to install a sense of public faith in their abilities.
“Bevin Fortuin has had a good year at fullback. Even if he and Francois Steyn are peppered with high balls by Ronan O’Gara, I think they’ll handle it,” he said.