South Africa winger Bryan Habana has been ruled out of the Springboks’ upcoming summer tests with Ireland after a pre-arranged agreement with his club Toulon made him ineligible for selection.
Habana, who has been capped 117 times by the Springboks, will be unavailable for selection this summer after his club Toulon agreed with the player that he would only be allowed to play sevens rugby this season.
Habana made his sevens debut in Las Vegas last month where the Blitzboks, South Africa’s Sevens side, claimed the Bronze medal after defeating the USA in the third-fourth place play-off. The former Bulls winger then took part in the Vancouver leg a week later before returning to France to link back up with defending Champions Cup winners Toulon.
Habana will presumably be released again for the Paris and London legs should Toulon secure a place in the Top 14 quarter-finals, but it appears as if international duty in the 15-man game would breach the nature of Habana’s agreement with Toulon, with new Springboks coach Allister Coetzee reiterating that South Africa’s all-time leading try scorer would be unavailable for selection.
“The status quo for this year remains the same. So if I would like to use overseas-based players… it’s been done, arranged…” Coetzee told Sport 24 after taking over from former Boks coach Heyneke Meyer.
“Bar Bryan Habana. He’s come out and played a bit of sevens this year, so the only concession is made for Bryan. He won’t be available for the Incoming Test Series (against Ireland).”
The Springboks will take on Ireland in Cape Town on June 11 before heading to Johannesburg for the second test on June 18, followed by the third and final test in Port Elizabeth on June 25.
Jack O’Toole, Pundit Arena
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