Johannesburg - Springbok Bryan Habana may well return to France before heading to Australia and New Zealand with the Springboks for the next round of the Rugby Championship after his club Toulon officially requested he be released for the weekend of 31 August.
According to the supersport.com website, Habana became the highest paid South African player in France when he recently signed with the glamour club, but in what may become a regular occurrence, the club has asked for him to be released from the squad as it is between games for the Springboks.
The Boks were meant to fly to Australia over that weekend in preparation for their games against Australia in Brisbane on September 7 and New Zealand in Auckland on September 14. Habana is due to take his place in the return match against Argentina in Mendoza this weekend and has already made his debut for Toulon before he re-joined the Boks.
Toulon’s millionaire owner Mourad Boudjellal told website Varmatin that he had put in a request for Habana to be released for Toulon’s game against Grenoble on 31 August. Grenoble shocked Toulon in the same fixture last year and Boudjellal wants a victory for his team.
If the release is granted, Habana would return to France from Argentina, and in all likelihood have to fly directly to Brisbane to join the team there.
A week ago, French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche reported that Habana's Toulon team-mate Jonny Wilkinson is the highest earner in the French Top 14 with €56 000 per month, followed by Racing Metro's Jonathan Sexton (€52 000) and then Habana on €50 000.
South Africa's Bakkies Botha, who also plays for Toulon, is also in the top 10 top earners in the competition. The former Blue Bulls lock gets €41 000, which is about R540 800 per month.