Veteran wing Bryan Habana has seen a lot in the 11 years he has played for the Springboks since coming onto the field as a late replacement for Jean de Villiers at Twickenham in 2004, so when he says he’s just been through the worst period of his involvement with the national team, it is a view worth noting.

According to Habana, the two weeks after the shock defeat to Brighton were worse than the fall out after the horrific 49-0 loss to Australia in a Tri-Nations match under the coaching of Jake White in 2006, and caused more soul searching than when the Boks lost five out of six games in the 2010 Tri-Nations after winning it the year before.

“To be brutally honest, the first week was very disappointing for us, and while I know how upset everyone back home was at us losing to Japan, it was much worse for us than it was for anyone outside the group,” said Habana.

“We never saw ourselves ever losing to Japan. It was the worst possible way to start the tournament we had been building towards for four years, and it was a massive setback for us. I had never experienced anything like the down feeling we had after that game in my previous involvements with the Boks. It was the absolute lowest we have ever been.”