Toulon - Springbok wing Bryan Habana has issued a public apology for a football-like dive in Toulon's Heineken Cup final win against Saracens at the weekend.
VIDEO: Habana dives in Heineken Cup final
The 30-year old wing, who has 95 Springbok caps and holds the record for the most tries by a South African (53), has in the past been accused of trying to 'milk' penalties from referees by exaggerating the extent of minimal off-the-ball contact with opposing players.
Playing against Saracens in his first Heineken Cup final, Habana was reprimanded by referee Alain Rolland for the over-dramatised contact he had made with opposing Saracens flyhalf Owen Farrell following an unsuccessful chip-and-chase.
Rolland referred to the wing's antics as 'a bit of a dive' after watching a replay of the incident on the big screen.
Saracens captain Steve Borthwick chimed in with 'embarrassing, embarrassing' at Habana following the incident.
Habana was also heavily criticised by top 14 commentator Martin Gillingham on Twitter during the match:
"It was a bite of a dive'" says ref. @BryanHabana you've been watching too much football since you've been in Europe @RCTofficiel"
Habana took responsibility for his actions after the match, however, delivering a heartfelt apology from his Twitter acount.
"So before anything.. Apologies in every way and to the whole community for happened in the Heineken Cup final yesterday... It was in no way intended with malice or to bring the game into disrepute. Sportsmanship and integrity are key factors to what makes rugby so special and I let myself, the fans, our opponents and the game down. Hopefully it didn't take away from what was a fantastic spectacle and even more so a special victory for @RCTOfficiel."
Habana will play for Toulon against Castres in the final of the French Top 14 this Saturday (kick-off 21:00 SA time).
If he wins the top 14 final, the 2007 IRB World Player of the Year will join Bakkies Botha as part of a very exclusive club to have won the the French league, the Currie Cup, Super Rugby, Tri Nations, British & Irish Lions tour, World Cup and the Heineken Cup.
HAVE YOUR SAY: Do you think rugby is losing its physicality with unnecessary penalties and cards, and that rugby players are becoming a bit like footballers by 'milking'penalties? Send your thoughts to Sport24 or login to Sport24's forum to join the debate!
Bryan Habana's selfie after Toulon's Heineken Cup win (Habana via Twitter)