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
Fri, 27 April 2018
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 18h45 Welford Road
Sat, 28 April 2018
Reds v Lions 05h05 Suncorp Stadium
Blues v Jaguares 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Crusaders 09h45 Canberra
Kings v Cheetahs 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 14h00 Sandy Park
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 14h00 Sixways
Gloucester v Bath 14h00 Kingsholm
Connacht v Leinster 14h05 Sportsground
Dragons v Scarlets 14h05 Rodney Parade
Bulls v Highlanders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Treviso v Zebre 16h00 Stadio Monigo
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 16h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Ulster 16h35 Thomond Park
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 Myreside
Sun, 29 April 2018
London Irish v Saracens 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Wasps v Northampton Saints 14h00 Ricoh Arena
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 22 April 2018
Racing Metro v Munster 27 | 22
Brumbies v Jaguares 20 | 25
Sat, 21 April 2018
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 36 | 15
Zebre v Ospreys 37 | 14
Sharks v Stormers 24 | 17
Leinster v Scarlets 38 | 16
Bulls v Rebels 28 | 10
Reds v Chiefs 12 | 36
Crusaders v Sunwolves 33 | 11
Fri, 20 April 2018
Waratahs v Lions 0 | 29
Blues v Highlanders 16 | 34
Sun, 15 April 2018
Saracens v Bath 41 | 6
London Irish v Exeter Chiefs 5 | 45
Sat, 14 April 2018
Leinster v Treviso 15 | 17
Kings v Cardiff Blues 12 | 45
TOP 14
MORE LOGS