So Long Sevens as Habana Returns to Toulon with Olympic Dreams Still Alive
Springbok wing Bryan Habana will return to France to resume his club commitments with Toulon after the club released him to play for the Springbok Sevens in two rounds of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. Habana, holder of the Springbok record for the most Test tries, played on the World Series circuit for the […]
Springbok wing Bryan Habana will return to France to resume his club commitments with Toulon after the club released him to play for the Springbok Sevens in two rounds of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
Habana, holder of the Springbok record for the most Test tries, played on the World Series circuit for the first time in 12 years in the Las Vegas and Vancouver tournaments.
The Blitzboks finished third in Las Vegas and were narrowly edged out by New Zealand in the Cup final in Vancouver on Monday morning (SA time).
The South Africans managed to close in on frontrunners, Fiji, and now trail by just one point on the HSBC World Series log. The team remains one of the favourites to win the overall title with four more rounds left to play.
The Springbok Sevens impressed in their unbeaten march to the Vancouver Cup final over the weekend, winning all three group matches before defeating Wales and Fiji convincingly in the knockout stages.
Habana said he was disappointed they could not go all the way in Vancouver: “It was disappointing to lose in the final against New Zealand after we had done so well to get there. As a squad, we feel there is room for improvement, especially in terms of our discipline and decision-making, particularly in the key matches.”
After the match New Zealand player Liam Messam tweeted the photo above saying: “Always a pleasure doing battle with my man @BryanHabana #lovewhatwedo #respect #rugbyisjustagame”
Bryan Habana replied:”#lovewhatwedo #respectbro Congrats on the win and good luck for the rest of the series #roadtorio”
Springbok Sevens coach, Neil Powell, drafted in Habana to have a closer look at the most-capped Springbok back as part of the overall preparations for the Olympic Games in Rio in August.
Powell said he was happy with Habana’s contribution: “It was always going to be tough to come straight from the 15s code immediately into the World Series, but Bryan is a true professional and he worked hard. Our squad also learned a lot from having him with us over the past few weeks.
“We are happy with the way things have worked out for us and for Bryan, and we will obviously talk again with him and his club as we prepare for the Olympics.”
Habana described his stay of almost three weeks with the Springbok Sevens and his brief appearance on the World Series circuit as a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
“I had a fantastic time with the squad and the experience and memories of visiting two great cities such as Las Vegas and Vancouver is something I won’t easily forget,” said Habana.
“Everyone in the squad made me feel at home and welcomed me into their fantastic brotherhood” – Habana
“Everyone in the squad made me feel at home and welcomed me into their fantastic brotherhood, and for that experience I am truly grateful. South Africa can be very proud of what the (Springbok) Sevens have achieved over the past 12 years or so. This squad has the potential to achieve many great things over the next six months.”
The SA team also took the time and effort to make South African expats in North America – who turned out in full force to support “their boys” – feel special.
“[Meeting the team] left me feeling proud of our Boys in green and my SA heritage like I have not felt in a very long time!” – SA expat Justin Armstrong
SA expat Justin Armstrong, shared the following photo. He said: “I want to share this story with all my fellow SAFFAS out there. We were at the 7s rugby in Vegas – it was a BIG Jawl and one I will not be missing in the future!
“I was very lucky to get the opportunity to meet the whole team with my two boys and two of their friends. This left me feeling proud of our Boys in green and my SA heritage like I have not felt in a very long time!
“Each and every one of the team members took the time to shake all the boys’ hands and chat to them before signing a ball.
“Bryan Habana offered to pose for a picture with the boys which was the cherry on the top. This was 20 minutes I and my boys will remember forever! Go Bokke!”
The next tournaments will be hosted in Hong Kong from 8 to 10 April and Singapore on 16 and 17 April respectively.
The Springbok Sevens return to Cape Town at around 07h00 on Wednesday morning.
Sevens Captain Kyle Brown to Stay Behind in Vancouver
It was announced today that Springbok Sevens captain Kyle Brown will not return to South Africa with the rest of the squad and will instead stay behind in Vancouver on medical advice.
Brown sustained a chest injury on Sunday in the HSBC Canada Sevens Cup final against New Zealand. He was taken to a nearby city hospital afterwards where he stayed overnight for observation.
According to the team’s medical report, Brown subsequently developed air between the chest wall and the lungs. The condition is known as pneumothorax.
Hugh Everson, the Springbok Sevens physiotherapist, accompanied the player to hospital and said it was recommended that Brown does not undertake any air travel until his condition has cleared up.
“Kyle is in good health and at this point he has minimal pain after he was discharged early on Monday morning,” said Everson.
“The recommendation, not to undertake travelling to South Africa, is purely precautionary. The provisional time frame the doctors have given him is between one and three weeks, so Kyle will not travel with the team to South Africa at this stage.”
More info: SARugby.co.za