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Bryan Gary Habana (1983 – )

The Order of Ikhamanga in

Silver
Bryan Gary Habana (1983 – ) Awarded for:
His excellent performance in and contributing to the improvement of the game of rugby in South Africa.
Profile of Bryan Gary Habana

Bryan Gary Habana, the fastest man in test rugby and joint holder of the record for the most tries in a World Cup, was born in Benoni in 1983.

Habana was educated at King Edward VII School and Rand Afrikaans Universiteit, now the University of Johannesburg. He made his first senior international appearances as a member of the national Sevens side in the 2003/04 World Sevens Series.

In 2004, he made his Currie Cup debut for the Lions and was voted the country’s most promising player that year.

Habana, who plays for the Blue Bulls in the Currie Cup and the Bulls in the Super 14, won the highest accolade in rugby when he was named the 2007 International Rugby Board (IRB) Player of the Year.

Chairperson of the IRB, Dr Syd Millar, said the award took into account player performances in all major international matches and that it had added significance in 2007 as that was a Rugby World Cup year.

Habana, a star of the 2007 World Cup, scored eight tries to equal Jonah Lomu’s 1999 record. He also won acclaim for his dramatic winning try in the 2007 Super 14 final.

Habana played outside centre and scrumhalf in provincial and age-group rugby, but came into his own once he was moved to wing.

Habana made his test debut at 21 against England at Twickenham, scoring with virtually his first touch of the ball after being brought on off the bench.

The following week, Habana started on the left wing against Scotland and scored two tries. He followed this with selection against Argentina in Buenos Aires.

For the 2005 Super 12 season, Habana moved to the Bulls and was included in the South African 2005 Tri-Nations squad, making his Tri-Nations debut against Australia and finishing as the joint highest try-scorer in that tournament.

Habana concluded the 2005 season as one of five nominees for the IRB World Player of the Year Award and was named the 2005 South Africa Player of the Year by South African Rugby.

Among Habana’s other awards are one for the Try of the Year by South Africa Rugby in 2007 and the Mzansi Sports Star Award in 2008.

In 2007, Habana pitted his legendary speed over 100 meters against the world’s fastest animal on land, the cheetah, to raise awareness of its endangered species status.

With nearly as many tries as the tests he has played, an incisive ability to read the game and breathtaking pace, Bryan Gary Habana is one of the world’s most gifted rugby players and a true South African role model.