South Africa’s Player of the Year, record-breaking Springbok wing Bryan Habana, is yet again in the sights of Toulon’s eccentric boss Mourad Boudjellal.
Despite twice previously having claimed to have signed the veteran Bok, only for it to be a red herring, on Friday told the French newspaper L’Equipe that Habana will join his club “next season”.
“On a scale of one to 10 [on the likelihood of his arrival], I would say 10 but it is only my opinion,” the cash-flush Toulon President, Boudjellal, told the newspaper.
If the latest claim does prove to be true, the Stormers flyer will join up with the likes of former Bok teammate Bakkies Botha, England’s 2003 World Cup hero Jonny Wilkinson, French flyhalf Frederic Michalak and Wallaby playmaker Matt Giteau.
Boudjellal has made no secret of his wish to sign the 2007 World Cup winner, Habana, despite twice having missed out on clinching his signature.
In a recent interview with this website WP Rugby Managing Director Rob Wagner said Habana is not going anywhere in the near future.
“Bryan [Habana] has a contract with us [WP Rugby] till 2014,” Wagner told this website, when asked about the ongoing reports that linked the 83-Test Bok to the cash-flush French outfit.
Boudjellal has been chasing Habana for a number of years. However, according to the latest reports in the French media Boudjellal’s bid to add the Bok legend to his Cote d’Azur squad may be a giant step closer.
Habana, who missed South Africa’s year-end tour after undergoing surgery for a knee injury suffered in the Currie Cup Final, apparently met Toulon Manager Bernard Laporte in London last month.
Habana was in London as part of his role in the Laureus World Sports Awards and attended the Boks’ 16-15 win over England at Twickenham – their last match on the year-end tour.
For the past eight years the biggest names in world rugby have been on Toulon’s “hit-list” and Boudjellal has been hugely successful in attracting genuine world stars to Stade Felix Mayol.
The latest French reports suggest a firm offer has been put in front of Habana and that he will give Toulon his answer in two weeks time.
However, Wagner said Habana would have informed him if there was an offer and he has heard nothing.
Also, The Stormers and WP are unlikely to let a prized possession like Habana go without putting up some stern resistance.