Habana plays down altitude factor

Bryan Habana has warned South Africa should not pitch up at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday thinking the high altitude alone will help them overcome the British and Irish Lions in the second Test.

Much has been made about the 1,214-metre distance above sea level of the Pretoria stadium, with some former players even warning that if the tourists failed to win the series-opener in Durban, they would fail to come away with anything.



As it turned out, Ian McGeechan's men lost the first Test 26-21 against the world champions, despite a late rally at the Absa Stadium, but they must now win the remaining two games on the Highveld, the second of which takes place at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, 1,753 metres above sea level.



Habana, who has played provincial rugby at the two Gauteng grounds for his entire career, believes nothing should be taken for granted.



"The altitude and everything that comes with it is all circumstantial to the game," said Habana, who will win his 48th Test cap on Saturday. "If we just arrive there and think that altitude's going to win it for us, we're definitely going to be in the wrong space.



"That just doesn't win you a game. I've been very lucky to be part of a very successful Bulls side over the past five years. We've sort of made Loftus a very tough place to come and play at and with the Springboks it's been similar over the last couple of years.



"So with that altitude and everything, it's still totally up to the players on the day. You've got to still arrive and play a Test match.



"You're playing against the best players in the northern hemisphere and if you think altitude is going to help you on the day, then you're going to be negatively affected."



By his own high standards Habana had a quiet game going forward on the coast, and has even come in for criticism from some quarters about the way he played.



But the 26-year-old maintained he was happy with his contribution, saying: "I think defensively I was really happy with where I was on Saturday. Whether I'm scoring tries or making turnover tackles, that's quite important.



"It's always nice to score tries, but I think when you have a series as massively important as this one, then just winning is probably the most important thing.



"It wasn't very nice not getting on the scoreboard, but the contribution each and every player made for that 80 minutes was vitally important, whether it was on attack or defence.



"Hopefully I'll be able to do something in the next couple of weeks and go enjoy a possible whitewash, but until that happens, my contribution to the team will be a lot different and we'll see where it goes from there."



Sport
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins win the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor