Lure of Euro Cup the 'deal breaker'

Wed, 24 Jul 2013 21:02
Large bryan habana toulon2 Large bryan habana celebrates Large bryan habana toulon Large bryan habana runs out at ne Large bryan haana scores against

World Cup-winning SA wing Bryan Habana admitted the lure of the Euro Cup proved too much as he completed his move to Toulon.

World Cup-winning South African wing Bryan Habana admitted the lure of the European Cup and the Top 14 had proved too much as he completed his move to Toulon.

The European champions have finally got their man after a long courting process that began back in 2008 when president Mourad Boudjellal met Habana's father.

And the maverick President continues to build a side that many other squads would look enviously towards.

Winning the European Cup last season, in an upset final success against Clermont, is not enough for Boudjellal, who envisions dominating French and European rugby for years to come.

That success was tempered anyway by a Top 14 Final reverse at the hands of unfancied Castres.

And 30-year-old Habana said it is exactly such an ambition that attracted him to the south coast of France.

"For a lot of Southern Hemisphere players the Top 14, the English league and the H-Cup [the European Cup] have become very exciting," he said.

"Toulon have been progressing for the last 3-4 years, it's an ambitious club that won the H-Cup. They've laid the foundations and for many players it's an attractive club."

Following his move from Cape Town's Stormers, Habana was officially presented to the press on Wednesday.

But he said this was a move that had been long in the making.

"I've been in contact with Toulon for quite a while. I've known Mourad for a long time and I've been speaking with [head coach] Bernard Laporte since last season.

"I signed a contract in January and since then I've been supporting the team from a distance.

"I was able to enjoy their fantastic season, even though they missed the last step [by losing the Top 14 Final].

"It's important to set yourself objectives. There are some high calibre players here who make that objective exciting."

One of the main selling points for a move to Toulon for the 2007 world champion is that it will not rule him out of South Africa duty, unlike the case for New Zealanders and Australians.

"I've also come here with the 2015 World Cup in mind as I'm leaving the door open to that given there's no rule that excludes South Africans playing abroad from selection."

Habana will be in good company with the likes of fellow Springboks Bakkies Botha, Danie Rossouw and Joe Van Niekerk also on Toulon's books, alongside England legend Jonny Wilkinson, Australian Matt Giteau and Italy prop Martin Castrogiovanni.

"It's true there are a lot of big names here and that will facilitate my transition because I need to adapt to a new environment and a new challenge," added Habana.

"But the [foreign] players who come here are not at the end of their careers, this are top international players who still want to achieve great things.

"You have to work hard to wear this shirt."

AFP

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 29 July 2017
Crusaders v Chiefs 07h35 Christchurch
Golden Lions v Griquas 10h00 Johannesburg
Lions v Hurricanes 12h30 Ellis Park
Sharks v Pumas 15h00 Durban
Sun, 30 July 2017
Free State Cheetahs v Western Province 12h30 Bloemfontein
Fri, 04 August 2017
Sharks v Griquas 17h00 Durban
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 July 2017
Pumas v Golden Lions 43 | 36
Sat, 22 July 2017
Griquas v Blue Bulls 45 | 51
Stormers v Chiefs 11 | 17
Lions v Sharks 23 | 21
Crusaders v Highlanders 17 | 0
Fri, 21 July 2017
Free State Cheetahs v Sharks 47 | 12
Brumbies v Hurricanes 16 | 35
Sat, 15 July 2017
Sharks v Lions 10 | 27
Bulls v Stormers 33 | 41
Force v Waratahs 40 | 11
Hurricanes v Crusaders 31 | 22
Chiefs v Brumbies 28 | 10
Sunwolves v Blues 43 | 21
Fri, 14 July 2017
Kings v Cheetahs 20 | 21
Rebels v Jaguares 29 | 32
TOP 14
MORE LOGS