So when the Toulon wing, a seasoned campaigner of 93 Tests, warned against complacency against Scotland at Murrayfield tomorrow, it was worth taking note of.
“You could easily find yourself on the wrong side of the scoreline if you are not at your best. And also if you are not prepared to go all the way for 80-plus minutes,” he said.
“If you look back at recent results, they were all pretty close and 2010 was a loss for South Africa.”
Habana, 30, has been on the winning side in 61 of his 93 Tests and has been on the victorious side in all five Tests he played against Scotland – scoring three tries – but he didn’t play in the Test lost 21-17 at Murrayfield three years ago.
“This weekend, having a good start is going to be pretty important,” he warned.
But he has seen enough of the Scots to know they are a proud rugby nation and never a side to just roll over.
“We will be playing against a side that will not just go onto the field to lie down,” he said. “They will continue fighting to the very end.
“There’s a lot of pride at stake for the Scots.”
While the Boks probably suffered from a bit of complacency when they played Scotland in Nelspruit in May, flank Francois Louw didn’t play that game as he was on honeymoon and the Scots put South Africa to the sword at the breakdowns.
“We probably got caught off-guard a little bit by the physicality the Scots brought to the field,” said Habana about that grinding 30-17 win at the Mbombela Stadium.
“And this weekend … playing at home in conditions that suit them prefectly, they are a team we will not only have to show respect to before the game, but during the game too.”