Wednesday 13 December 2017

Axed Habana 'still has a role' for Boks

Bryan Habana. Photo: Getty Images
Bryan Habana. Photo: Getty Images

Andrew Baldock

South Africa head coach Allister Coetzee says it is not the end for Bryan Habana after he dropped the Springboks' star wing.

Habana, who has won 124 caps, scored 67 Test tries and helped South Africa win the World Cup in 2007, has not made the match-day 23 for tomorrow's Principality Stadium clash against Wales.

Coetzee has reacted to last weekend's shock defeat against Italy by naming three Test debutants in the starting line-up, while juggernaut flanker Willem Alberts is sidelined because of injury. Centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg, wing Jamba Ulengo and flanker Uzair Cassiem will make their Springbok debuts, and a fourth uncapped player - back-row forward Jean-Luc du Preez - has been included on the bench.

Janse van Rensburg replaces Damian de Allende, and Ulengo takes over from Habana in a reshuffled back division that also sees full-back Johan Goosen, fly-half Elton Jantjies and scrum-half Faf de Klerk starting.

Asked about 33-year-old Habana's immediate Test future, Coetzee said: "I would not go as far as saying it is the end for him. He has not just got a role to play on the field, but a massive role off it for South African rugby."

Wales will be almost at full strength for the clash but injury has ruled captain Sam Warburton out. He will be replaced by Dan Lydiate as blindside flanker while Gethin Jenkins takes over as captain.

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