Habana expects young recruits to counter England’s Test plans

SOUTH Africa winger Bryan Habana believes the Springboks’ superior young talent can inspire them to victory over England on Saturday, even though Stuart Lancaster has had additional time to prepare his team.

Habana, with 74 caps, is the highest-capped member of a South Africa squad featuring nine uncapped players and, with Lancaster also expected to continue favouring his youthful approach, the winger is adamant that their inexperience will ultimately prove irrelevant.

“It has changed quite drastically but it is an exciting new era,” said Habana, 28. “Sometimes you forget what a privilege it is to represent your country but when you see the youngsters, and how much they want to feed and take it in, it takes you back to when you got your first cap.

“It is a huge privilege to be called up. There is a great energy, a great vibe, but that all comes to nothing if you don’t go out and perform on Saturday. I’m looking forward to that challenge.”

England will have had almost two weeks together by Saturday’s opening Test in Durban while the Springboks have a new coach and an unsettled squad as a consequence of both retirements and injuries, yet Habana believes it will fail to decide the outcome.

“I don’t think it gives them the upper hand,” he added. “The experience they have had in their preparations over the last two weeks is definitely going to benefit them, but I don’t think it is going to make a difference.”