Springboks' Habana says team 1st, tries record 2nd
Updated: September 19, 2011, 20:00
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TAUPO, New Zealand(AP) South Africa flyer Bryan Habana says a World Cup win over Namibia this week is more important to him than becoming the team's outright leading try-scorer.
The Springboks should notch their third win from three Pool D matches against their neighbor on Thursday at North Harbour Stadium.
Habana was recalled to the side on Tuesday after missing the 49-3 win over Fiji last weekend with a knee complaint.
He has not scored a test try for the Boks in more than a year, leaving him tied with Joost van der Westhuizen on 38.
"If that 39th try comes, it comes, and if the Springboks win 150-0 without me scoring a try and I've contributed, then I'll be happy,'' Habana said.
"I've always said with my time at the Springboks, it's never going to be about Bryan Habana the individual. It's about what I can bring to the team. Whether that be by leadership, whether that be by scoring tries, whether that be by making cross-cover defense tackles, it's about making a contribution.''
That would have been music to the ears of coach Peter de Villiers, who earlier praised his star winger's attitude.
"If you can give me one player on this team that will put his interests above the interests of the team, then today I will personally send him home,'' de Villiers said. "If he gets his record-breaking try and we lose the game, what does it mean to the team and what does it mean at all to be here?
"Bryan brings some energy to the team. He's a bundle of energy. I'm glad to give him a run again.''
Habana has gone 11 tests without a try, the longest drought of a 71-cap career that began in 2004. The last was against Italy at Witbank in June 2010.
Admittedly, eight of his 11 tests have been against fellow Tri-Nations sides.
The longer the drought has lasted, the more he's downplayed the record having any effect on his form.
"I'm not focused on it and would like to contribute to the team winning games,'' he said. "If it comes via a try, so be it.''