Thursday 18 October 2018

'I don't think Mads knows what that meant to me' - Bryan Habana on special significance of try that broke Leinster hearts

Toulon's winger Bryan Habana celebrates after scoring a try during the European Champions Cup rugby union semi final match between Toulon and Leinster on April 19, 2015 at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille, souheastern France. AFP PHOTO / BERTRAND LANGLOIS (Photo credit should read BERTRAND LANGLOIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Toulon's winger Bryan Habana celebrates after scoring a try during the European Champions Cup rugby union semi final match between Toulon and Leinster on April 19, 2015 at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille, souheastern France. AFP PHOTO / BERTRAND LANGLOIS (Photo credit should read BERTRAND LANGLOIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Springboks legend Bryan Habana has sunk plenty of teams over the years with late tries, but one particular score that devastated Leinster holds extra importance for the legendary wing.

After an illustrious career in the southern hemisphere that saw him win the World Cup, the Tri Nations and two Super Rugby titles, Habana opted to come north and play for Toulon in 2013.

The South African speedster enjoyed similar success with the French side, collecting two Champions Cup medals as well as winning the Top 14.

In his second successful European campaign, Toulon came up against Leinster in the semi-final in Marseille, with the game going to extra time.

With Toulon leading by just three points, Leinster inside centre Ian Madigan attempted a risky pass to release his outside backs - only for master poacher Habana to pinch the ball and return it for the decisive try.

Speaking on this week's Left Wing podcast, Independent.ie's rugby podcast in association with Laya Healthcare, Habana discussed the epic encounter with Will Slattery and ex-Leinster star Luke Fitzgerald, who was on the losing side that day.

While Fitzgerald looked back on the tough defeat, Habana revealed that as well as securing the win, the key try also meant that he was able to attend a very important family event.

"I'm actually very fortunate, I know there was a lot of heartbreak for the Leinster team and the supporters who travelled, but on a personal note, even though Toulon had got to the final, I was happy because I could go to Bernard Laporte and ask him for the next week off to go home to South Africa and go to my brother's wedding," Habana said.

"The club had been saying no to me for two months prior so I understand the disappointment, and it was a great game that hung in the balance, but I don't think Mads [Ian Madigan] understands what that meant to me and more to my brother!

"I literally went to Bernard Laporte and said 'You know about next week that I don't have off? I'm going to Cape Town to be next to my brother'. So a great game!"

Habana also discussed the influence Brian O'Driscoll had on his career, the toughest moments of his career and what he has planned for the future after announcing his retirement.

Subscribe to The Left Wing, Independent.ie's Rugby podcast in association with Laya Healthcare, with Luke Fitzgerald and Will Slattery for the best discussion and analysis each week. From in depth interviews with some of Irish rugby's biggest stars to unmatched insights into the provinces and the national team, The Left Wing has all your rugby needs covered.

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