Flies flag for players of colour

PARIS - Bryan Habana, South Africa's four-try hero from the 59-7 demolition of Samoa, claims that more displays like that will see more coloured or black players turn to rugby.

PARIS - Bryan Habana, South Africa's four-try hero from the 59-7 demolition of Samoa, claims that more displays like that will see more coloured or black players turn to rugby.

The 24-year-old winger, whose four tries took him to 26, added that, contrary to popular belief, there are a lot of coloured players coming through the ranks.

"A lot of coloured South African players are coming through, it's a work in progress," said the 29-time capped speedster. "It's up to players like myself to go out on the field and show there is talent in South Africa."

Habana, who originally wanted to be a scrum-half, admitted that to him the whole issue was not for the players or management to deal with - something coach Jake White has battled with since he took over in 2004, sometimes driving him to the verge of quitting.

"I've never seen colour as an issue, whether you're white, pink, black or blue it doesn't matter," said Habana, who scored a scintillating try as the Bulls won this year's Super 14 trophy.

"As players we just go on to the field and perform, we leave the politics to the politicians."

Habana, who at one point when he was younger was clocked at 11 seconds in the 100, said he wasn't a player to go into hiding when the heat was on.

"My role in the team is to score tries and I like scoring tries," said Habana.

"If I make a contribution to what is a great team effort then I'm happy. I like pressure to be put on me.

"It's the start of the tournament, we have a long way to go."

For White there was no doubting how important Habana was to the team as they approach Friday's crucial clash with world champions England.

"He is the type of player that any side would love to have," said White. "He has everything - pace, passing ability and a nose for the try line."

The one caveat about Habana has come from former fiery Springbok winger James Small who told SA Rugby magazine earlier this year: "He's got weaknesses.

"He's got to curb his temper. Look at his dangerous tackle on Percy Montgomery in the Super 14 final. He struts and thinks he can get away with that - them refs [World Cup referees] will be watching him," added Small, whose short temper was renowned throughout his career. - Sapa-AP

X