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Page last updated at 07:39 GMT, Thursday, 25 June 2009 08:39 UK

Habana plays down altitude factor


How the Lions prepare for high altitude

Bryan Habana says South Africa cannot rely on the high altitude at Loftus Versfeld to help overcome the British and Irish Lions in the second Test.

The Springboks are favourites to win on Saturday having had more experience of the conditions in Pretoria, which is 1,214 metres above sea level.

However, Habana, who plays club rugby for the Bulls at Loftus, is cautious.

"If we think that altitude's going to win it for us, we're definitely going to be in the wrong space," he said.

The first Test at the Absa Stadium last Saturday was generally seen as the best opportunity for the Lions to secure a win against the world champions.

Despite a late rally Ian McGeechan's side lost 26-21 and must now attempt to 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.

"The altitude and everything that comes with it is all circumstantial to the game," said winger Habana, who will win his 48th Test cap on Saturday.


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

"But 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."

The 26-year-old winger defended his performance in the first Test and added that he expects to play a bigger part in the coming games.

"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."

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see also
Springboks set to 'go up a level'
25 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
Banned Hines misses out for Lions
24 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
Emerging Springboks 13-13 Lions
23 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
Lions eye changes for second Test
21 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
South Africa 26-21 Lions
20 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
Southern Kings 8-20 Lions
16 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
Western Province 23-26 Lions
13 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
Sharks 3-39 Lions
10 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
Royal XV 25-37 Lions
30 May 09 |  Rugby Union
Lions squad selector
07 May 09 |  Rugby Union
2009 Lions: Squad & results
09 Jul 09 |  Rugby Union

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