Q&A with Habana in Hollywood

2014-03-14 11:16
Bryan Habana,Bubba Watson (Greg Beadle)
Los Angeles - Currently under contract at Toulon, but sidelined with a serious injury while playing in the European Cup v Exeter in December, you might be wondering what Bryan Habana is up to.

The good news for Habana’s fans, as well as Springbok supporters, is that his injury seems to be healing well. The bad news, judging by the twinkle in his eye, is that the bright lights of Hollywood may have the Springbok flyer thinking of a flash career on the silver-screen. 

We caught up with Bryan at the Dolby Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard the week leading into the Oscars where he talked to us about his injury, technology in sport and what he was doing in Los Angeles.

Bryan Habana with golfer Bubba Watson (Greg Beadle)

 Janine Habana (left), Hollywood socialite and daughter of Ozzy Osbourne, Kelly Osbourne (centre) and Bryan Habana (right). (Greg Beadle)

Sport24: Bryan, we’ve talked to you in many famous cities of the world, Hollywood in California is not a very likely place for a Springbok wing to be hanging out in February. What brings you to LA?

Habana: It’s actually my second time here. The first time I visited Los Angeles was back in 2004 when I was here playing in the IRB 7’s, but I didn’t get to see or experience much. This time I am here with a group of international athletes from all over the world to celebrate 30 years of Sport Performance eyewear and the launch of the new campaign - Disruptive By Design. It’s been so good to walk down Hollywood Boulevard and see all the stars in the sidewalk, visit the Chinese Theatre, seeing all the crazies dressed up as super heroes and legend actors, and enjoying the build-up to the Oscars as they get the red carpet ready, and yes, it’s all a bit surreal and I must say it’s very cool to be a part of this.

Sport24: Which other athletes have you met out here?

Habana: Yesterday we did a Vanity Fair type photo-shoot and at the penthouse of a hotel looking out over the city. I had a good chat with Juan Pablo Montoya who was very down to earth and used some descriptive ‘colourful’ language, Kerri Walsh (3 Time Gold Medallist in Women’s Volleyball) who is even taller then Victor (Matfield) and I had to stand next to her in the shoot, which I was not happy abou!. Then I also met snowboarder Jamie Anderson, which was awesome as she was still buzzing after winning Gold at Sochi in the women’s ‘Slopestyle’ event.

Sport24: You’ve met a lot of world-class athletes before at places like Laureus Sports Awards, but these are a different type of athlete. Do they know of Bryan Habana and what do they think of rugby?

Habana: The Oakley athletes are definitely a more ‘out there’ type of athlete… just look at Bubba Watson. Big personalities. It’s great to share rugby with this bunch and now with rugby being included in the next Olympics the Americans are already more interested in rugby and curious to know about such a tough sport. Concussion is such a big thing in the NFL at the moment so they look very curiously at the intense contact of rugby. They are such an aspirational country and with the opportunity to get to the Olympics via rugby… that has got a lot of people talking about it in this country.

Sport24: Have you been inspired by these athletes to get involved in any other sports?

Habana: Well I have had 11 seasons of top rugby and still loving every minute of it you know, but chatting to Bubba Watson last night about his latest win last week, I realised that he just banked a few million dollars so maybe I need to get involved in golf. Ten years on the senior tour would do just fine for me! I love cricket too, but I am not that great.
I think I have been very fortunate with injuries though and I’m still very excited for the rugby I have ahead of me. Looking at Brian O’Driscoll, he is 35 this year and he had such a great career. I don’t think my golf is quite good enough yet to be able to just play golf four times a week, while looking after the baby for the other three.

Sport24: Being at an event that is presenting such futuristic and technically interesting aspects to their products, how do you see the relevance in rugby and other sports now and in the future?

Habana: I got to talk to the mad scientists at the Oakley 1 I Con, which is the crazy cool HQ about an hour outside of downtown LA. You won’t believe what they are doing and what they have planned. I mean the applications are incredible. Imagine from an analytical point of view - all kinds of data being captured via the glass of the eyewear that the coach is wearing? It might sound way out there, but after meeting the mad scientists, seeing the new prism lens and hearing how do-able they make these fascinating applications sound is quite staggering, and exciting.

Sport24: So you’re keen on the wearable tech that is so popular at the moment?

Habana: It’s the most frustrating thing. I have a pair of Airwaves 1.5 Goggles that the guys use on the slopes. They are insane. You can navigate resort maps, see jump analytics, speed, altitude all on the screen while you are out in the snow. The bummer is rugby players are never allowed to get involved in snowboarding or skiing; they are notorious sports of cruciate ligament knee injuries. It’ll have to wait for now, but I do use the lenses on the golf course - they don’t make you a pro golfer, but definitely help my game in a big way - and to look cool getting on and off the bus!

Sport24: The time off has clearly given you a good perspective of other sports and opportunities, but when can we see you back on the field?

Habana: Yes. It’s been a surreal experience out here, hanging out with the likes of Kelly Osborne and that gangster wrapper guy Little John… it’s a long way from the left wing. My operation was on the 16th December though and although the surgeons first said I was off for four months, it’s looking good and I have already started running again so I should be back training with my Toulon team really soon. And believe me, I can’t wait.

Bryan Habana with gangster rapper Little John. (Greg Beadle)

Read more on:    toulon  |  springboks  |  bubba watson  |  bryan habana  |  rugby

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