Bryan Habana has singled out a particular play during the 2009 Test series between the Springboks and British & Irish Lions as one of the best moments in his career.
South Africa won the first two Tests and the Lions clinched the third match for a 2-1 series scoreline in favour of the hosts.
The Boks dominated the first game, but had to rally late in the second match to mount a comeback having trailed by 11 points with 20 minutes left.
Habana and centre Jaque Fourie scored late tries, while Morne Steyn stepped up to slot the conversions and two penalties to clinch the win and with that the series.
Reflecting on that riveting Test at Loftus 12 years ago, the legendary Bok pinpoints Fourie’s stunning try as one of the best he has even seen.
‘What that game did give us was one of the best tries I’ve ever seen on a rugby field from Jaque Fourie,’ Habana told former teammate Jean de Villiers during a Laureus Sport for Good Foundation webinar.
‘Mine [his try] was a set move that we practised on the training park for two or three years prior to that, but that finish from Jaque Fourie and the way it happened, to give Morne that final opportunity to make that kick to win … it was incredible.
‘As a rugby player, you always want to make a contribution. It was a great memory and a pretty spectacular moment for all of us involved. The party in the Monte Casino the following weekend summed up what a great moment it was.
‘It’s crazy to think that it’s been 12 years already. The uniqueness of a Lions series as a South African, Australian or New Zealander, that only happens once every 12 years.
‘There are some Test centurions that never get an opportunity to play against the Lions. The passion, pride, camaraderie and uniqueness of it is something that many players would give any waking moment to be a part of.
‘We were fortunate that we had that success in 2007 and saw it as a the majority of us staying together with the hope of doing something special in 2009, given that we had lost the series in 1997.
‘It was a really important goal, short term, that I had written down. 2009 was special and it definitely played a crucial part in my planning and I’m grateful to be part of an occasion that went down in history.’
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