Ahead of The Barbarians v South Africa at Wembley Stadium on 5 November, South African rugby union player Bryan Habana looks back on his time in a Barbarians shirt.
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Reflecting on his starring role in one of the Barbarians greatest games, Bryan Habana said: “It’s a memory that will last a lifetime.”
The superstar wing wants to extend his 117-cap international career with the Springboks, who open their Autumn tour against the famous invitation club at Wembley Stadium on 5 November.
He has a World Cup winners medal and is the tournaments leading try scorer as well as banking Currie Cup, Super Rugby, Top 14 and European Cup titles in a career he will extend into 2017 with Toulon.
But his career highlights also include the Barbarians’ great victory over New Zealand in 2009 – the club’s first win over the All Blacks since the 1973 classic that included Gareth Edwards’s legendary try.
Habana scored a hat-trick of tries in the 25-18 win for a superstar Barbarians side that included the likes of George Smith, Schalk Burger, Matt Giteau and Jamie Roberts.
“The Barbarians is the brand that gives the core values of rugby the most emphasis,” said Habana.
“It’s been fantastic to experience – playing for the Barbarians, playing against the Barbarians and watching them from afar.
“The calibre of players we had in that side was amazing. It was great scoring the tries but it was the guys inside me who created the magic.
“The first one Drew Mitchell picked the ball up from the base of a ruck and ran 40 metres; the second was an intercept agains the run of play and the last one was Matt Giteau getting through a hole and then quick hands from Morne Steyn.
“From that first minute there was that belief and we showed it to the last minute when Schalk Burger and George Smith won a turnover from the final play of the game for us to kick it out and win.
“It was special to be part of a Barbarians side that beat the All Blacks. It happens so rarely and you try and keep those memories alive. Scoring the three tries and being man of the match was special. It’s a memory that will last a lifetime.”
Habana, 33 next month, still has ambitions to join the South Africa sevens side at this summer’s Olympics in Rio – as well as impressing new Springboks Head Coach Allister Coetzee ahead of the Killik Cup match against the Barbarians on November 5 at Wembley.
“I’m hoping I can still represent the Springboks at some level – I’m feeling pretty good physically,” Habana said.
“It’s a very exciting time. We’ve got a new coach in Allister Coetzee who I’ve worked with in South Africa and with Western Province and the Stormers.
“There’s a lot of experience having left the squad in guys like Jean De Villiers and Victor Matfield, Fourie du Preez – they’re legends of South African rugby – but there’s some very good youngsters like Jesse Kriel, Handre Pollard and Lood de Jager.
“It’s a very bright looking future and an exciting time. I’m sure people want to grab that opportunity with both hands and there’s that four-year cycle going to Japan 2019
“It’s going to be a tough first year for Allister with the Irish in June and then the Rugby Championship against Argentina, Australia and New Zealand that we didn’t do too well in last year, then signing off with a very exciting game against the Barbarians.”
The Barbarians v South Africa match for the Killik Cup is at Wembley Stadium connected by EE on 5 November. Head to Ticketmaster.co.uk for full ticket options including hospitality packages.
Don’t forget, you can get 2 for 1 Barbarians tickets in our Friday 13th flash sale.