Habana’s long-term Lions goal

Bryan Habana has explained that the 2009 Lions tour has been a serious objective of his since his international debut back in 2004. [more]

Habana’s long-term Lions goal

Bryan Habana has explained that the 2009 Lions tour has been a serious objective of his since his international debut back in 2004.

Having first worn Springbok colours in a November defeat to then World Cup holders England at Twickenham, Habana has gone on to win close to 50 caps and been named the IRB World Player of the Year.

The 25-year-old has tasted glory in the Currie Cup, the Super 14, the Tri Nations and the World Cup, yet winning a Test series against the Lions has always been a distant dream.

Half a decade on from his international bow and that dream is now close to becoming a reality. The result of the three-match series against the Lions may still be in doubt but, barring injury, Habana’s presence in the Springbok starting XV is surely not.

"The Lions is a long-term goal for me, it’s been a goal for about five years back," said Habana, who is expected to be one of the first names on Peter de Villiers’ teamsheet for the first Test against the Lions in Durban on June 20.

"I’d really love to be a part of that Springbok team and make a huge contribution.

"Hopefully, I’ll be able to play well enough to get picked for that Springbok side and play well enough to make a huge difference."

Having recently had a pin inserted in a broken finger, Habana is aware that a lot can happen between now and June. Whatever the rugby gods throw at him, however, Habana is determined to continue working hard, enjoying his rugby and doing whatever he can to be part of an historic summer series.

"There’s a lot that’s going to happen before the Lions tour but it’s an exciting time.

"I’ve got to make a contribution with the Bulls in the Super 14 and hopefully play well enough to get picked in the Springbok team that gets chosen to come up against the Lions in the Test series.

"We get an opportunity every day of our lives to go out and do something we absolutely love. As much as you set long-term and short-term goals, being a part of something you’re absolutely passionate about and have dreamt about doing your whole life means it doesn’t take much to get me out of bed in the morning."

Bryan Habana is expected to play an important role for the Boks this summer

He may have only been a schoolboy the last time the Lions visited South Africa but there is no doubt that Ian McGeechan and co left an indelible impression on the young Habana.

The former World Sevens star admits that the 1997 Lions played a big part in his rugby education in his early years. Now he wants to teach the Lions a lesson in three months time.

"I do remember ’97. I was very new to the game so I didn’t really know what the history of the Lions was about. Seeing what this amazing team under Martin Johnson brought to South Africa was really exciting for me as a youngster getting to know the game.

"It was a great time. We were world champions and there was a lot of expectation and, had it not been for Jerry Guscott’s drop goal, things might have been different.

"That’s all history now and we’re looking forward to this tour. We’ve laid a foundation and we all start off trying to be a part of the next chapter in Springbok rugby."

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