Springbok wing Bryan Habana has announced his retirement from all rugby, having struggled to get into Toulon’s starting XV after knee surgery.
Habana, who hinted earlier in the year that retirement was a possibility, announced that he was hanging up his boots via an Instagram post.
‘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,’ he said. ‘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 joined Toulon in 2013, helping them to two European Champions Cups and Top 14 title, after playing for the Stormers, Bulls and Lions.
The 35-year old played the last of his 124 Tests against Italy in 2016 and holds the record for the most Test tries (67) by a tier-one player. He won the World Cup in 2007, as well as the Tri-Nations and British and Irish Lions series in 2009.
Habana formed a key part of the Bulls team that won the 2007 Super Rugby trophy — scoring the winning try in the final against the Sharks — before moving to the Stormers where he won the Currie Cup in 2012.
He was named IRB Player of the Year in 2007, and SA Rugby Player of the Year in 2005, 2007 and 2009.
Photo: Jean Catuffe/Getty Images