The Rugby Championship 2014

Habana to play 100th test for Springboks

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 September, 2014, 10:45pm
UPDATED : Friday, 26 September, 2014, 10:01pm

Winger Bryan Habana will become the fourth Springbok to play 100 tests when South Africa meets Australia in the Rugby Championship in Perth on Saturday.

Habana joins Percy Montgomery, John Smit and Victor Matfield in the century club. Habana has played with all of them since his debut against England in 2004.

He holds the test try-scoring record for South Africa with 56, fourth best on the all-time list.

Bryan [Habana] is a true professional and someone who never gives anything but his best, on the field and off it
Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer

“Bryan is a true professional and someone who never gives anything but his best, on the field and off it,” said coach Heyneke Meyer. “For him to reach this magnificent milestone is just reward for years of dedication and hard work.

“Bryan is also a humble servant to the game and a true ambassador for his family, his friends and his country. He will go down in history as one of the greatest rugby players of all time.”

Matfield, the most capped Springbok, was recalled to play his 114th test after missing the home and away wins against Argentina because of a knee injury. There were five other changes to the starting line-up for the match against Australia.

Hooker Adriaan Strauss, loosehead prop Tendai Mtawarira and flanker Marcell Coetzee come into the pack, while Lood de Jager and Bismarck du Plessis drop to the bench, and Gurthro Steenkamp and Juan Smith are rested.

Fly-half Morne Steyn, who kicked the late match-winning penalty against the Pumas in Salta, starts ahead of newcomer Handre Pollard, and Jan Serfontein is in at outside centre for Damian de Allende.

The uncapped Warren Whiteley is in the reserves as cover for the loose forwards.

Despite Australia losing 51-20 to New Zealand, Meyer expects the Wallabies to bounce back.

“I truly believe they have a quality, quality side,” Meyer said. “In the wet they played some great rugby where they drew [with the All Blacks]. And even the game they lost, I know they lost on the scoreboard, quite considerably, but they showed some brilliant touches and played some great rugby.”

The All Blacks host Argentina in Napier in the other match on Saturday.