Bryan Habana and the form book

We have seen it all before, haven’t we? A player has a bad day at the office, they have another one, then another and then suddenly they find themselves in a rut. The bad performances have continued unabated and it seems as if the player will never return to his former greatness.

Name the greats, they have all been there.

John Mcenroe, Wayne Rooney, Steffi Graf, Benni McCarthy, Serena Williams, Graeme Smith, Pele, Penny Heyns and more recently, Tiger Woods, have all had faltering moments in successful careers, when their form dips and fans start to lose faith.

This is exactly what has happened to Springbok star winger Bryan Habana—out of form and out of luck; we have forgotten just how brilliant the man really is.

Despite jointly holding the record with Joost van der Westhuizen for the most number of tries scored by a Springbok, Habana hasn’t dotted down for the Boks in more than a year.

His last try was against Italy in East London on June 26 2010 and he’s just grinded to a halt since then.

After a mediocre Super Rugby series, Springboks coach Peter de Villiers stuck with Habana, playing him in every match he thought mattered.

Honestly, the only reason Habana and 20-odd other players never made it to the away leg of the Tri-Nations this year was because PDiv didn’t care if we won or lost down under—we are after the World Cup.

This is why he will keep including Habana in his line-up—hoping he eventually breaks off the chains of this rut he is in.

Hopefully he does so when he returns to the field against Namibia on Thursday after missing the last game. If ever there is an opportunity to score that try to make him the Springboks’ highest try-scorer, it is now.

Please: Knock that monkey off your back, Bryan.

Habana has certainly shown his value as a great rugby player—someone who has scored 38 tries for the Boks and is rated alongside the likes of All Black Jonah Lomu, doesn’t become a has-been overnight.

De Villiers is often berated by fans for his questionable decisions when it comes to strategy but I am with the coach on this one—stick with Bryan until the end.

It’s not like the Stormers’ speedster hasn’t been trying.
Every single time he puts on a Springbok jersey you can see the enthusiasm and hunger in his eyes. Unfortunately, form is normally accompanied by luck—and Habana has been fresh out of that for quite some time.

I choose to support the man that has done us proud on many occasions—because that’s what true fans do.

Bottom line: What’s more deadly in the Springbok’s arsenal than a fully-charged Bryan Habana running at the tryline like a freight train?

I think you get the point.

View our Rugby World Cup special report for the latest news, features, match reports and multimedia here.

Nickolaus Bauer

Nickolaus Bauer

Nickolaus Bauer is the Mail & Guardian's jack of all trades news reporter that chases down stories ranging from politics and sports to big business and social justice. Armed with an iPad, SLR camera, camcorder and dictaphone, he aims to fight ignorance and pessimism through written words, photographs and videos. He believes South Africa could be the greatest country in the world if only her citizens would give her a chance to flourish instead of dwell on the negativity. When he's not begging his sub-editors for an extra twenty minutes after deadline, he's also known to dabble in the occasional poignant column that will leave you mulling around in the depths of your psyche. The quintessential workaholic, you can also catch him doing sports on the weekday breakfast show on SAfm and presenting the SAfm Sports Special over the weekend. Read more from Nickolaus Bauer

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