5 July 2013
Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula honoured Springbok star Bryan Habana on Thursday for his feat of becoming the first man to score 50 test tries in the green and gold.
Habana reached the milestone two weekends ago when he scored twice against Samoa in the Castle Lager Incoming Series decider at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, which South Africa impressively won 56-23.
“Since making his Springbok debut in 2004, Bryan has been an inspiration on and off the field, and it is very well-deserved that his name will forever live in the annals of the game as the first Springbok to reach this special milestone,” South African Rugby Union president Oregan Hoskins said at the time.
During an event held in Johannesburg on Thursday to launch the Nelson Mandela Sports Day, Habana received a special trophy and R50 000 from the Department of Sports and Recreation. He donated the money to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital.
“I feel privileged to be honoured in this manner by our minister of sport,” the flying winger said.
“However, I think it’s only appropriate that I share the accolades with my team- mates, without whom I would not have been able to score any tries. To get one try for the Springboks was amazing. To reach 50 is almost unreal.”
‘Madiba did so much for us’
Commenting on his donation, he added: “Madiba did so much for our wonderful country, and this donation is just a small gesture to help his legacy live on forever.
“We all know how close children have always been to his heart, and I think the building of this new hospital will ensure the world will forever know what Nelson Mandela was all about.”
Habana scored on his test debut against England at Twickenham in 2004 and has gone on to become only the sixth player in test history to score 50 Test tries.
Top test try scorers
Japan’s Daisuke Ohata tops the list with 69 five-pointers in 58 tests. Australia’s David Campese scored 64 tries in 101 tests, Shane Williams scored 60 tries in 91 tests for Wales and the British and Irish Lions, Hirotoki Onozawa of Japan scored 55 tries in 80 tests, and Rory Underwood scored 50 tries in 91 tests for England and the Lions.
Habana was named the IRB’s World Player of the Year in 2007 after South Africa lifted the Rugby World Cup, during which he equalled Jomo Lomo’s World Cup finals record of eight tries in the tournament.
He is also a three-time South African Rugby Player of the Year, having received the accolade in 2005, 2007 and 2012.