Will the 100th also be the 10th?

2014-09-05 00:00

TEN years ago, a 21-year-old Bryan Habana ran on as a reserve against England and with his first touch of the ball scored a try on debut for the Springboks.

Although that try is just one of 56 in his illustrious career, it set a standard Habana would look to emulate throughout his career.

This Saturday, he will become only the fourth South African to play 100 games for the Springboks. Ever modest, the veteran wing is still taking it a game at a time.

“The last 99 Tests have been really special and to come up against a world-class outfit like Australia for your 100th is pretty awesome,” Habana said.

“For me as a player, you always want to test yourself against the best whether that be scoring tries or just contributing in terms of leadership and general work rate within the side. I think the contribution you make is a lot more important,” he said.

However Habana is hoping to score his 10th try against Australia to put the cherry on top in his 100th Test. It will be a bit of a throwback to his try on debut that Habana holds as one of his most cherished memories.

“Getting the opportunity to wear that Springbok jumper for the first time back in 2004 against England, the then World champions at the home of rugby Twickenham and going on to score a try with my first touch of the ball in international rugby was a pretty special way to start the fairy tale,” he recalled.

After that first cap, Habana said one could only look forward to wearing the jersey again and again.

“I think when you get to wear the jumper for the first time, you wish for the second. When you get to the second, you wish for the third and the 10th, 20th then eventually the 50th. Again, being able to have the honour and privilege of wearing the jersey 100 times is something you can’t really describe to people who haven’t had that opportunity,” he said.

His career has been filled with many a high and some lows, but Habana has always been a hard worker and thanked everyone, from former coaches to family and friends, who has helped him along his way to 100 Tests for the Springboks.

Nevertheless the Springboks have a job to do and beating Australia this weekend will give them an upper hand in the Rugby Championship.

“Australia has always been a great team to come up against. I think our record over the last four or five years hasn’t been as great as we would have liked it to be,” Habana said.

•Habana has played Australia 19 times, scoring nine tries against them. His win-loss ratio is 9-10 so a win will take it to level pegging.

The Boks take on Australia at 12.05 pm in Perth tomorrow.

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