Springbok winger Bryan Habana is set to join French giants Toulon following the conclusion of the 2013 Super Rugby tournament, but the record-breaking speedster is adamant that his Springbok stint is not over yet.
“It definitely wasn’t the easiest decision for me,” Habana told My-Players, regarding the decision to leave to France. “It was something that took a lot of discussions with people like Heyneke, for example, because my Bok aspirations will always be there and I didn’t want to close that door. Luckily that door isn’t closed.”
Habana explained the process in which he became linked to the French Top 14 club.
“I had a chat with Bernard Laporte last year after going to watch the Springboks play at Twickenham and he had a couple of ideas on what he wanted to achieve and where he was going and how he saw me within his roles and responsibilities within the Toulon set-up,” explained Habana.
“I’ve been chatting to that specific club for about six or seven years now and it’s always been something that was lingering in the back of my mind. I wasn’t always too sure whether or not I was going to take it up.
“In fact, I was actually getting ready in my mind to go to France when the Western Province offer came along, so things changed direction for me.”
The 30-year old elaborated, saying that his move to France will not detract from his dedication to South Africa, but that he needs to put new goals in place for his career.
“I would have loved to have been here for another couple of years, but from a totally different rugby perspective I needed to start challenging myself in a different aspect.
“I don’t think anyone wants to get stuck in a rut in terms of the mundane stuff – not that Super Rugby is mundane at all, but when you’ve been doing it for nine years different challenges are definitely exciting and it gives you a new lease on life.
Habana noted that any move or switch in rugby franchise will cause some uproar; however, he feels that the move will ignite new motivation in the elusive winger.
“It is similar to when I left the Bulls to join the Stormers four years ago. People were up in arms about how I could make a decision like that. The faithful at Loftus and the faithful down in Cape Town couldn’t really understand it because of the intense rivalry and what we expect from our rugby tradition and history in South Africa.
“But to be able to go over there and play with the likes of Jonny Wilkinson, Matt Giteau, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, Andrew Sheridan, Carl Hayman, Danie Rossouw, Bakkies Botha… players who I really enjoy and players who this season proved their worth by winning the Heineken Cup is really exciting for me.”