Bok legend Habana announces retirement

Springbok legend and Toulon wing Bryan Habana has announced his retirement from all rugby at the end of the current French season.

The former Bulls and Stormers wing has been with Toulon since 2013, but has struggled with injuries throughout his time with the Top 14 side.

The 34-year-old, who is South Africa’s all-time leading try scorer with 67 tries from his 124 Tests, confirmed the news on Tuesday.

In an emotional announcement posted on his Instagram page, Habana announced the end of his rugby career saying: “The inevitable moment has come knocking on my door and I’ve welcomed it in for a drink.

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

A post shared by Bryan Habana (@bryanhabana_) on

“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.”

Habana underwent knee surgery in 2017 and has struggled to make an impact at Toulon this season.

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Kiri Rupiah
Kiri Rupiah is the online editor at the Mail & Guardian.

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