Bryan Habana announced his retirement on his Instagram account on the 24th of April. He shared a moving tribute to his opponents, the fans, his family and the game itself.
Bryan Habana’s career has been a successful one. He played in many South African teams, starting as a sevens player he moved on to the Golden Lions where he made his Currie Cup debut. Provincially he played for the Blue Bulls, Golden Lions and the Western province. His Super Rugby career, he played for the Bulls and Stormer. Nationally, he played for the Springboks before entering his senior career with the French team Toulon.
He played an integral role in winning the 2007 Rugby World Cup, collecting a total of 8 tries throughout the tournament equalling the single-tournament record set by the late Jonah Lomu in 1999. He was subsequently named as the 2007 IRB Player of the Year.
During the 2015 Rugby World Cup, he once again equalled the late Jonah Lomu’s career record of 15 tries and also moved into second place among all-time test try scorers, with a tally of 67 tries.
You can read his emotionally moving goodbye below.
So it’s my turn to say Thank You:
The inevitable moment has come knocking on my door and I’ve welcomed it in for a drink. .
It’s been more than a year of hoping, trying, pushing and willing to get back on the field for one last time, to taste the sweet victory or encounter that gut-wrenching despair. To hear the roar of the crowd or grab the pill out of the air. To make that last bone crunching tackle or score that last game winning try. But it’s unfortunately just not to be. I, like most, would have liked my career to have ended differently, but sometimes things don’t turn out quite the way we hope for.
So at the end of this season, it’s time to say goodbye and thank you to the game I so dearly love. .
To try and sum up the past 16 years and how quickly they’ve flown by or even begin to describe how amazing the journey has been is impossible. .
I would though like to express my gratitude:
- First and foremost, to God for blessing me with the talent to play this beautiful game.
- To my wife Janine, Timothy and our newborn Gabriel, for your support, sacrifice and love to follow me to all corners of the earth so that I can pursue my dreams.
- To my family and friends, far and wide, who wore their hearts on their sleeves as much as I did.
- To the coaches, team-mates, medical and support staff in all the teams I was involved in.
- To every opponent that made the battle tough and worthwhile.
- To all my sponsors over the years who believed in me enough to support me on the journey.
- To the fans, who make the game what it is.
- To the critics, not to prove you wrong but so that I could prove to myself I could.
- To the media, who take the game to households the world over.
- To the lessons learnt, through the good times and the bad.
- To the friendships made and experiences a plenty.
But most of all to Rugby, because for me it truly is a game made in heaven. .
As a close friend one said: “memories are all we have.” And I’m immensely grateful for the memories I take with me into the next chapter. .
With much respect