Hurting Habana opens up

The Springboks' struggles this year have represented the lowest point in Bryan Habana's 124-Test career.

After missing the June series against Ireland, Habana returned to the Bok set-up and started in all six Rugby Championship matches. He also started in the Bok team that suffered a first-ever loss to Italy earlier this month, while he was subsequently dropped for the final Test of the year against Wales.

A winless end-of-year tour ultimately saw the Boks finish the year with a record of just four wins from 12 Tests, and in an emotional post on his Instagram account, Habana admitted the results had been hard to take.

'The pain, disappointment and lows of what happened over the past three weeks and that has been happening over the past six months is by far the toughest and lowest I have ever experienced in my rugby career, and I've had many lows,' he wrote.

'To even begin to explain where it's all gone wrong is immensely difficult as there are so many things across the board to dissect and you cannot put it down to just one thing. Purely from a player's perspective, our on-field performances, bar a few individuals at certain times, hasn't been up to standard and we take full responsibility for that despite all the off-field issues.'

Habana also accepted personal responsibility for his part in the Boks' poor performances.

'I honestly felt that I could make a positive influence and impact both on and off the field in 2016, and unfortunately I haven't been able to do that and I apologise for the part I played in the results of this year. I fully understand the hurt, dissatisfaction and despair felt about where this current Springbok team is and I'm also prepared to face all the criticism that comes my way in the part I've played.

'Like you all, I also want to see the Springboks be a force to be reckoned with and instill pride back into the jersey and be that symbol of hope and unity that it has been on so many occasions for our country.'

He concluded by acknowledging that constructive communication was the only way to begin addressing the deep-rooted problems in South African rugby.

'I believe open and honest discussions need to be had with all the key role players, administrators, politicians, coaches and players to start a proper process of rebuilding and implementation of structures. Whether or not I'm a part of this group going forward, or whether changes get made on an administrative, coaching or players level, we can never lose the belief that we can fix it.'

Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

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Craig Lewis