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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 September 2007, 06:18 GMT 07:18 UK
England hatch defence for Habana
Bryan Habana
Habana scored four tries in the rout of Samoa
England v South Africa
Stade de France, Paris
Friday, 14 September
Kick-off: 2000 BST
Live coverage on BBC Radio 5live & the BBC Sport website

Defence coach Mike Ford says England must starve prolific South Africa winger Bryan Habana of possession if they are to stop him in his tracks.

Habana scored four tries on Saturday as the Springboks demolished Samoa 59-7 in their opening match.

"You can't man-mark him," Ford told BBC 5live ahead of Friday's key pool game.

"What you can do is stop his source, and try to stop the ball going towards him. It is going to be a tough day but not one we are frightened of."

Ford believes Habana has been made more dangerous thanks to the influence of former Australia coach Eddie Jones, who is working as a consultant with the Springboks.

"Eddie Jones has got him popping up here, there and everywhere," said Ford.

"Probably a year ago he stayed on the left wing, but now he can be in the middle of the field or even on the right wing."

Mike Ford
Even if we had beaten the USA by 50 points, we still know how the Springboks are going to play

Mike Ford

England will go into Friday's game on the back of a desperate performance against the USA in their opening game.

The world champions struggled to a 28-10 victory and could be without both Jonny Wilkinson, who is battling injury, and captain Phil Vickery, who faces a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday.

But Ford insisted that England's lacklustre display against the USA would not alter the way they approach the game against South Africa.

"It makes it a bit tougher, in that maybe we didn't get the confidence-boosting performance we would have wanted," he said.

"It hasn't happened, but the fact is South Africa are still the same side - even if we had beaten the USA by 50 points, we still know how the Springboks are going to play.

"We have played them four times since November; I have got so much footage of them it is untrue."

Ford warned that anyone expecting a try-fest in Friday's encounter will probably be disappointed.

"International rugby nowadays, when you get to the top eight nations, is a game of field position.

"Sometimes it is better if you don't have the ball and for the opposition to have it, because it is harder to attack in rugby union.

"It becomes a game of turnovers, about keeping your discipline, kicking your penalties, keeping the scoreboard ticking over.

"When you are up against the top sides in the world, that is the game. There won't be many tries on Friday night.

"You can talk about attack all you want but it rarely happens at this sort of level."

SEE ALSO
England 28-10 USA
08 Sep 07 |  English
South Africa take aim at England
10 Sep 07 |  English
South Africa 59-7 Samoa
09 Sep 07 |  Rugby Union


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