South Africa v Australia, Tri-Nations, Bloemfontein, September 4
Muir maintains faith in Habana
September 2, 2010
Springbok winger Bryan Habana has yet to shine in this season's Tri-Nations © Getty Images
South Africa backs coach Dick Muir insists he is not concerned by Bryan Habana's dismal run of form, claiming that it will only be a matter of time before the winger is back to his scintillating best.
Habana has looked desperately out of sorts this year and has not managed a try in his last five outings. More worrying is the defensive side of his game, with the Western Province speedster having been at fault for two tries in last weekend's 44-31 victory over Australia in Pretoria.
There have been calls for Habana to be axed but Springboks boss Peter de Villiers has kept faith with the former IRB World Player of the Year for this weekend's meeting with the Wallabies in Bloemfontein. It was the right call, according to Muir.
"All great players have these spells where they lose form," he said. "Bryan has set the bar very high, so we probably notice it more. He's one of the most dedicated players and he's working hard to get back to his best, so I'm not overly concerned about his form."
Muir also dismissed the suggestion that Habana is feeling the pressure of being just one score away from claiming outright possession of South Africa's all-time try-scoring record, which the 27-year-old currently shares with Joost van der Westhuizen, on 38 tries.
"I don't think breaking the try-scoring record is having any effect on him. He's bigger than that and he plays for the team," he said.
"I've encouraged Bryan to come off his wing and look for work, and he'll be rewarded. If he makes one glaring mistake, everyone jumps to conclusions that he's off form. That's the business we're in - we get criticised. It's about being bigger than that and working hard to rectify it."