Rugby Championship

Habana staying at Boks

2014-09-20 12:00
Bryan Habana (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Despite an ultimatum from his French club, Bryan Habana is staying with the Springboks as they prepare for a Rugby Championship Test against Australia at Newlands next Saturday.

Toulon boss Mourad Boudjellal earlier this week demanded that Habana and Bakkies Botha quit the Rugby Championship and return for club duty in France.

He threatened not to pay the players' salaries if they fail to return to France this week.

However, Habana is just following the International Rugby Board's rules and will not head back to the French giants until his Rugby Championship commitments are over.

He was spotted at an Asics launch at the Waterfront in Cape Town on Friday and will join his Bok team-mates when they re-gather in the city on Sunday.

Habana told Die Burger that the SA Rugby union will sort our the issue behind the scenes.

"The SA Rugby Union concern themselves by what goes on behind the scenes and they are good at it. I'll make sure they sort it out. Mourad is obviously very disappointed that we can't be in France, but the IRB's regulations stipulate that SARU now has jurisdiction over us."

Habana added that there has been no communication between him and Boudjellal over the issue. He said it would be interesting to see what transpires when they meet face-to-face.

"I understand how he feels. We're paid very well by the clubs and they have no access to us during the Rugby Championship. Hopefully we can come to an agreement which suits all parties."

The law, at least as far as the IRB is concerned, is on the side of the players, as well as the Test teams that have selected them.

Boudjellal said he is willing to take the matter to court and feels that clubs like Toulon should be compensated during an IRB-sanctioned Test window.

He feels it's unfair that the players defend the colours of their country and are then paid rather comfortably by Toulon, insisting he is not there to fund South African rugby.

The Springboks have two matches left in the Rugby Championship - against Australia in Cape Town (September 27) and New Zealand in Johannesburg (October 4).


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