Springbok great Bryan Habana’s simple response to Ireland being viewed as world’s best

Dylan Coetzee
Springboks legend Bryan Habana looks on.

Springboks legend Bryan Habana looks on.

Springboks legend Bryan Habana has weighed into the debate around who is actually the best team in the world, with many suggesting Ireland are that side, despite sitting in second place behind South Africa in the world rankings.

It is clear that Ireland have been the form international team over the last two years as they equalled the winning streak for the Six Nations with 11 victories on the bounce only for England to spoil the party in Round Four.

Titles hold more value

Their impressive win rate on a whole has driven the narrative that Ireland are in fact the best side in the world and whilst Habana acknowledged and praised Andy Farrell’s side, he believes that winning big tournaments like the Rugby World Cup is more important.

It all sets up brilliantly for the two Tests Ireland will play in South Africa this season during the mid-year international window.

“Ireland has an exceptional win ratio, which commands respect,” Habana said to Sport24. “And the brand that Ireland is playing is extremely exciting.

“Yes, the notion of the best team in the world is subjective. Did they [Ireland] not play winning rugby at the World Cup? Yes, they did but came unstuck against New Zealand and we walked away with the World Cup trophy.

“They can say what they want about being the best team in the world, but that trophy is sitting in South Africa for the next three-and-a-half years.”

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Winning rugby

Habana, who is still the leading try scorer in Tier One rugby, elaborated on his point that gets behind the Springboks philosophy of World Cups being the most important thing.

“Exciting rugby is great, scoring tries is great, but winning rugby is more important for me,” he said. “You can play the best brand of rugby, but if you aren’t winning tournaments and games, then why do what we do?

“Winning was better than playing nice rugby.”

READ MORE: Rassie Erasmus weighs into ‘best in the world’ debate as New Zealand duo have their say