Springboks legend Bryan Habana to retire at end of season
The 2007 World Cup winner and all-time leading SA try scorer said the time has come to say goodbye to his illustrious rugby union career.
South Africa's leading try-scorer Bryan Habana will retire at the end of the Top 14 season.
The Toulon wing, who turns 35 in June, is in the final year of his contract with the French giants and has opted against prolonging his career.
Habana is second on all-time list of Springboks cap-holders behind Victor Matfield with 124, scoring 67 tries for his country to go down as a great.
The flyer, a World Cup-winner in France 11 years ago, revealed on Tuesday that he is ready to hang up his boots after struggling to force his way back into the Toulon side following knee surgery last year.
So it’s my turn to say Thank You: . The inevitable moment has come knocking on my door and I’ve welcomed it in for a drink. . It’s been more than a year of hoping, trying, pushing and willing to get back on the field for one last time, to taste the sweet victory or encounter that gut-wrenching despair. To hear the roar of the crowd or grab the pill out of the air. To make that last bone crunching tackle or score that last game winning try. But it’s unfortunately just not to be. I, like most, would have liked my career to have ended differently, but sometimes things don’t turn out quite the way we hope for. . So at the end of this season, it’s time to say goodbye and thank you to the game I so dearly love. . To try and sum up the past 16 years and how quickly they’ve flown by or even begin to describe how amazing the journey has been is impossible. . I would though like to express my gratitude: . • First and foremost, to God for blessing me with the talent to play this beautiful game. • To my wife Janine, Timothy and our newborn Gabriel, for your support, sacrifice and love to follow me to all corners of the earth so that I can pursue my dreams. • To my family and friends, far and wide, who wore their hearts on their sleeves as much as I did. • To the coaches, team-mates, medical and support staff in all the teams I was involved in. • To every opponent that made the battle tough and worthwhile. • To all my sponsors over the years who believed in me enough to support me on the journey. • To the fans, who make the game what it is. • To the critics, not to prove you wrong but so that I could prove to myself I could. • To the media, who take the game to households the world over. • To the lessons learnt, through the good times and the bad. • To the friendships made and experiences a plenty. . But most of all to Rugby, because for me it truly is a game made in heaven. . As a close friend one said: “memories are all we have.” And I’m immensely grateful for the memories I take with me into the next chapter. . With much respect . BH11
Habana posted on Instagram: "The inevitable moment has come knocking on my door and I've welcomed it in for a drink.
"It's been more than a year of hoping, trying, pushing and willing to get back on the field for one last time, to taste the sweet victory or encounter that gut-wrenching despair. To hear the roar of the crowd or grab the pill out of the air.
"To make that last bone-crunching tackle or score that last game-winning try. But it's unfortunately just not to be. I, like most, would have liked my career to have ended differently, but sometimes things don't turn out quite the way we hope for.
"So at the end of this season, it’s time to say goodbye and thank you to the game I so dearly love."
Habana has won two European titles and the Top 14 during his time with Toulon and was a two-time Super Rugby champion with the Bulls.
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