Rugby SA Pays Tribute To Bryan Habana

Picture : Mail & Guardian

Bryan Habana is 34 years old South African Rugby player and his the second-most-capped Springbok of all time with 124 Test caps, announced that he will hang up his boots later this year.

Habana, a Rugby World Cup winner in 2007, made his Test debut against England at Twickenham in November 2004, when he scored the first of his 67 Test tries – the most ever by a Springbok.

He amassed 118 Vodacom Super Rugby caps and scored 56 tries at this level in the colours of the Vodacom Bulls and DHL Stormers. He also played four tournaments for the Springbok Sevens team in 2004 and 2016.

Apart from the Rugby World Cup, Habana also tasted success in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship (previously named the Tri-Nations), against the British & Irish Lions, Vodacom Super Rugby, European Cup, Currie Cup and the French Top 14.

He is the only player since rugby unity in 1992 who has won the prestigious SA Rugby Player of the Year Award three times – in 2005, 2007 and 2012. Habana was also named the World Rugby Player of the Year in 2007.

Provincially, before moving to Toulon in France in 2013, Habana played 21 times for the Xerox Golden Lions in 2003 and 2004, scoring 17 tries; 14 matches for the Vodacom Blue Bulls between 2005 and 2009, scoring nine tries, and eight times for DHL Western Province from 2010 to 2012, scoring twice.

“We have been privileged to have witnessed the career of Bryan Habana, who will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the great legends of Springbok rugby,” said Mr Alexander.

“During a career that spanned more than a decade and a half, he stood out a one of the most professional players ever to don the Springbok jersey, and over the years Bryan has been central to many of the most memorable occasions in the era of professional rugby.

“We will never forget every time he delighted us by crossing the try-line or putting in yet another bone-crunching tackle, but those close to him will also remember the Bryan that was a true professional, always going about his task giving 100%.

“He was also a leader in all the teams he played for and set an example to younger players of what is needed to succeed at the top.

“But most of all, he was a proud South African who was a wonderful ambassador to our country wherever he went. When it came to using rugby as a tool for nation-building, Bryan was always in the front of the queue.

“As a player, Bryan has set the bar incredibly high for succeeding generations. He has left behind a legacy of discipline, leadership and professionalism. He and his family can be very proud of all that he has achieved.”

Career highlights:

• Became the first South African to reach 50 Test tries when he scored twice against Samoa in June 2013.

• Became the fourth Springbok to reach 100 Test caps against Australia in Perth in 2014, behind Percy Montgomery, John Smit and Victor Matfield.

• Scored the most Vodacom Super Rugby tries by any South African.

• Played 123 Tests on the wing and once at centre.

• Other international matches: four tour matches for South Africa and three matches for the Barbarians.

• Holds the record for the most career tries in the Castle Rugby Championship (21).