Cape Town - If called upon, Bryan Habana feels he could still make a valuable contribution to the Springbok cause.
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Habana played the last of his 124 Tests for the Springboks in the shock defeat to Italy in Florence last year.
The 34-year-old, who currently plies his trade at French outfit Toulon, was not included in coach Allister Coetzee’s squad for the current three-Test home series against France.
He is currently nursing a knee injury and recent reports indicated uncertainty regarding his international future.
Habana spoke to Sport24 at the launch of his Team Habana foundation in Cape Town on Thursday where he further cleared the air regarding his international future.
“I had an open and honest chat with Allister in terms of where I stand. Allister’s definitely building towards the 2019 World Cup. For him, the pressure was to select players on form and I wasn’t on the field for the past month,” Habana said.
“And again, you’ve got the likes of Raymond Rhule, Courtnall Skosan, Dillyn Leyds and Ruan Combrinck... the guys are in really good hands, so despite being inexperienced they’ve made the step up really well. Allister told me where I stand - that if there are a few injuries down the line, then there’s a possibility for me to be involved.”
Habana also credited the Bok mentor for an open and honest discussion.
“I’m not calling time on my Springbok career just yet. I feel like I could still make a contribution. I know where I stand and I’m really appreciative of Allister for letting me know.”
Regarding the injury, Habana said he will seek specialist medical opinion in France.
“I’m struggling a bit with my knee at the moment - a bit of cartilage or meniscus damage. I haven’t played rugby since the middle of April. I tried to be fit for the final of the Top 14 but it just didn’t work out, so I’ll go back and see a few specialists in the south of France just to see what the next process is because it’s still a bit sore at the moment, not functioning at 100%. Hopefully it will come right fairly soon.”
Habana holds the record for the most Test tries (67) by a Springbok and is three shy of Victor Matfield’s all-time Springbok caps record of 127 Tests.
He has been on Toulon's books since 2013, having previously represented the Stormers (2010-2013), Bulls (2005-2009) and Lions (2003-2004).