Habana has ‘foot in the door’

Bryan Habana says he thoroughly enjoyed his time with the Blitzboks, but admits to being uncertain about what his future holds on the sevens scene, writes CRAIG LEWIS.

After a more than 10-year absence from the sevens circuit, Habana featured for the Springbok Sevens at the recent tournaments in Las Vegas and Vancouver, and predominantly made an impression as an impact player off the bench.

The Springbok veteran, who has now returned to his French club Toulon, said his time with the Blitzboks had been an ‘eye-opening’ experience.

‘I think we were all a little uncertain how exactly I could contribute [to the sevens side], this has been a massive learning curve for me, and I don’t think I’m quite where I need to be yet. It is difficult trying to balance playing in the northern hemisphere and also contributing to the sevens group … It’s been a very special three weeks to be part of this group, I’ve been made to feel really welcome, and to be on the circuit again was a dream come true.’

Habana has formed part of the Blitzboks’ wider planning for the Rio Olympics, where sevens rugby will make its debut in August, and the door remains open for the 32-year-old to feature again for the Blitzboks later this season.

‘I’ll chat to [coach] Neil [Powell] and see where he wants me to fit into the system, obviously I hope that I can contribute in some way and maybe I’ve now got a foot in the door. Having chatted to Neil over the past couple of years, I really believe there’s an able group of players in South Africa that can go out and do the country and the jersey proud in the buildup to Rio. If I feel like I can make a positive contribution in terms of the team’s success, then I’ll definitely be fighting hard to make the squad.’

The next tournaments of the World Rugby Sevens Series will be hosted in Hong Kong from 8-10 April and Singapore on 16-17 April respectively, with the final two tournaments to follow that.

Photo: David Becker/Getty Images

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