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Bryan Habana

Mourad Boudjellal

Mourad Boudjellal

Mourad Boudjellal is planning to take the IRB to court over payments to players on international duty in a groundbreaking move.

The outspoken Toulon president had already made his feelings clear erlier this season when he complained about having to pay the likes of Bryan Habana, Juán Martín Fernández-Lobbe and Bakkies Botha while they were away at the Rugby Championship.

And he has now revealed that he has the support of Premiership bosses in England ahead of a legal battle with the game’s governing body, who he has accused of an ‘abuse of power’.

“We’re in the process of speaking to our lawyers in Paris to see if we go to commercial or administrative court,” he told Var Matin.

“The IRB rules have no provisions for unions to pay the clubs for their internationals. Yet the IRB is made up of the unions.

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Newlands Rugby Stadium

All Blacks no go area – the picturesque Newlands Rugby Stadium.

Liam Napier explains the mystery of why South African rugby bosses are keeping the All Blacks away from the nation’s second-biggest city.

It’s one of the world’s most popular destinations. In 2008, 25,000 readers of South Africa’s Daily and Sunday Telegraph readers voted it the world’s best city.

But while the All Blacks travel to South Africa at least once every year, 2008 was the last time Cape Town hosted the All Blacks.

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Duane Vermeulen

Duane Vermeulen

The formidable presence of No 8 Duane Vermeulen could be missing from the Springbok arsenal when they play their final Rugby Championship match of the year against the All Blacks at Ellis Park next Saturday.

Vermeulen left the field late in the second half with a rib injury, and with Schalk Burger having already come onto the field for Teboho Mohoje, that meant that a lock, Victor Matfield, had to take up position on the side of the scrum.

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Bryan Habana

Bryan Habana

Currently away with the Springboks, Bryan Habana hasn’t been distracted by the outlandish statements of Mourad Boudjellal at Toulon.

Habana will be in line for his 102nd cap against the Wallabies in Cape Town next weekend, but the Toulon owner earlier this week demanded that Habana along with Bakkies Botha and Argentina’s Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe return to play for their club.

Perhaps Habana wasn’t distracted because those kind of outbursts from Boudjellal aren’t new. In the same week he also raised the possibility of cancelling Leigh Halfpenny’s contract.

“It’s not up to me to decide on going back. We have the right lines of communication. SA Rugby have been working hard behind the scenes to address the rumours that have been going around this week,” Habana exclusively told Planet Rugby.

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Mourad Boudjellal

Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal

Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal has demanded that Bryan Habana and Bakkies Botha quit the Springboks’ current Rugby Championship campaign and report for club duty.

Toulon recently lost 28-24 to Stade Francais, and currently sit at third on the Top 14 log.

Boudjellal is clearly not pleased with his side’s form at present, and has publicly lamented the club’s lengthy list of injuries as well as the absence of international stars like Habana, Botha, and Pumas flanker Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe.

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Bryan Habana

Centurion Bryan Habana

The Springboks will seek “clarity” around Bryan Habana’s controversial sin-binning but have refused to blame match officials for their one-point loss to the Wallabies in Perth.

Referee George Clancy’s call to pull a yellow card from his pocket in response to Habana’s high shot on Australian winger Rob Horne in the 65th minute lit up social media with a torrent of criticism for Clancy and the International Rugby Board’s management of its match officials.

And while a clearly agitated Heyneke Meyer walked into the post-match media conference after the match, the South African coach demurred from jumping on board, calling instead for “consistency” across the board.

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Bryan Habana

Out of Africa: Bryan Habana trains with the Springboks in Perth this week.

Bryan Habana likes to talk about what rugby has done for him.

He talks about the 1995 World Cup, when he was an 11-year-old boy in a bubble of privilege with an abstract understanding of the dividing force of apartheid in his country, but no experience of its implications.

He talks about the path he was put on, one afternoon at Newlands Stadium, when his father pulled him out of school and drove him down from Johannesburg to watch the Springboks beat the Wallabies in the opening round of that historic tournament.

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Ewen McKenzie

Ewen McKenzie

After a draw and a lopsided loss to New Zealand in the Rugby Championship, Australia goes into its match against South Africa on Saturday with a chance to give coach Ewen McKenzie a first a win against a team ranked ahead of the Wallabies.

In his 18th test as Wallabies coach, McKenzie still hasn’t led the third-ranked team to a win over a side with a better International Rugby Board ranking.

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Bryan Habana

Bryan Habana

Bryan Gary Habana is an institution in the Springbok team and in Perth on Saturday he will become the fourth player to feature in 100 Tests for South Africa.

Speaking ahead of the Boks’ Rugby Championship encounter with Australia, he made it clear that he is not taking the No.11 jersey for granted.

In fact Habana said there are young players – both in the team and back home – pushing him hard.

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Bryan Habana

Bryan Habana to become Springbok Centurion No 4.

Bryan Habana will on Saturday become the fourth Springbok and 33rd player overall to play in 100 Tests when South Africa take on Australia in the third round of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship at Patersons Stadium in Perth (kickoff 12h05 SA time).

The 31-year-old Habana, who made his debut for South Africa against England at Twickenham on 20 November 2004, holds the record for the most Test tries in a Springbok jersey. His 56 Test tries places him fourth on the list of all-time international try scorers.

The three-time South African Rugby Player of the Year (2004, 2007 and 2012), who was also named the IRB Rugby Player of the Year in 2007, will lead the Springboks out on Saturday as he follows Percy Montgomery, John Smit and Victor Matfield in amassing 100 Tests in the green and gold.

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Bryan Habana

Springboks flyer Bryan Habana

The Wallabies have been the source of great pain and great satisfaction in Bryan Habana’s glittering Test career.

After the anguish of the 2011 World Cup quarter-final – a game still capable of sending a collective shudder through a Springboks team room – and the elation of last year’s watershed Test victory at Suncorp Stadium, it is fitting that the South African winger will play his 100th Test against the Wallabies in Perth.

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Bryan Habana

Bryan Habana – On standby for Blitzbokke duty

Toulon have released South Africa winger Bryan Habana to play for the Blitzbokke at the Commonwealth Games.

Habana had previously been named in the original squad to compete in Scotland before the club decided to prevent him from participating.

However, Toulon have now announced that the 97-times capped flyer has been released to compete in the tournament before he links up with the Springboks to play in The Rugby Championship.

Schalk Brits is the other big name who won’t be featuring in the competition, after his release was denied by Saracens.

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BlitzbokkeSASCOC have confirmed enforced late changes to the rugby sevens squad to compete at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.

Cheslin Kolbe, the Western Province and Stormers speedster, has been withdrawn by Western Province due to a knee injury.

Warrick Gelant was due to replace Kolbe but was injured at the weekend and will undergo surgery this week. This sees Mark Richards, a member of the gold-medalling SA sevens team at the World Games in Colombia last year, coming in as a late replacement.

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Bryan Habana

Bryan Habana

Schalk Brits

Schalk Brits

 

The Springbok Sevens team’s hopes of winning a medal at the Commonwealth Sevens could well have been given a blow if indications that Springbok fifteens stars Bryan Habana and Schalk Brits may have to be forced to withdraw by their respective leagues.

While both Brits’ Saracens club and Habana’s Toulon club have given them the go-ahead to be selected for the Games, it seems now that the Premiership and Top14 may well order both to withdraw as the Games falls within the prescribed off period for European rugby.

As both leagues stipulate a strict four week rest period for players during the off season, it is unlikely they will change their minds and Blitzbok coach Neil Powell may well be forced to look elsewhere to bolster his team.

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South AfricaIt is understood that French-based players in the Springbok squad are unlikely to be available to play Scotland in next week’s Test in Port Elizabeth.

This means the likes of Morne Steyn, Gurthro Steenkamp, Bakkies Botha and Bryan Habana will all have to report back to their clubs.

It’s understood the clubs will invoke International Rugby Board (IRB) Regulation Nine, which governs the release of players for the June test window.

The regulation stipulates that releases are required for the second, third and fourth weekends of June, or for three matches.

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Bryan Habana

Bryan Habana

Schalk Brits

Schalk Brits

Cornal Hendricks

Cornal Hendricks

Cheslin Kolbe

Cheslin Kolbe

Warren Whiteley

Warren Whiteley

Springboks Bryan Habana and Schalk Brits have been included in the South African sevens rugby squad for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.

Regular Blitzbokke coach Neill Powell will take charge of the squad, which features several household names in South African rugby.

Apart from Habana and Brits, experienced sevens campaigner Cornal Hendricks was also included. He made his Springbok debut in the 15-man code against the World XV last week.

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Bryan Habana, Bakkies Botha, Juan Smith & Danie Rossouw at Toulon

Bryan Habana, Bakkies Botha, Juan Smith & Danie Rossouw at Toulon

Toulon’s South African contingent capped an unbelievably successful seven days by lifting the Bouclier de Brennus shield in Paris, after defeating Castres 18-10 in the Top 14 Final to go with their Heineken Cup title.

Former England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson was given the perfect send-off by Bakkies Botha, Juan Smith, Craig Burden and Bryan Habana, who all started the final, with Danie Rossouw and Michael Claassens appearing off the bench.

The match was Rossouw’s last before retirement and brings down the curtain on a truly glorious career in which he was won every trophy available to him, from league titles in Japan, France and Super Rugby to two Heineken Cups and of course the Rugby World Cup and old Tri-Nations.

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Bryan HabanaSouth African star Bryan Habana scored a try on his return to action after a three-month absence because of a hamstring injury as Toulon beat Bordeaux-Begles 22-20 in a thrilling Top 14 encounter on Saturday.

The 30-year-old – a World Cup winner in 2007 – touched down in the 66th minute as Toulon came from 20-9 down to prevail, largely thanks to 14 points from Frederic Michalak.

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2013The year was full of spectacular moments and performances as well as disappointing lows and infamous incidents; we name and shame the best and worst in our 2013 Awards.

New Zealand and Wales ruled their respective hemispheres for the second successive year, the All Blacks enjoying a flawless 2013 campaign.

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South AfricaWalesBryan HabanaRecord-breaking South Africa wing Bryan Habana is predicting an epic battle when the Springboks take on Wales in Cardiff in November.

The 30-year-old former IRB Player of the Year is looking forward to returning to the Welsh capital next month and believes, following the success of the British and Irish Lions in mid-year, the Welsh side will be more dangerous than ever.

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South AfricaIt was a balmy Brisbane which greeted the Springboks on Sunday evening (Australian time) after a trip of more than 20 hours that started in Johannesburg on Saturday afternoon, included a stopover in Sydney and ended at their hotel in the Queensland capital.

The Springboks face Australia in the third round of The Castle Lager Rugby Championship at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday. Although the South Africans have not beaten the hosts at this venue in a Test, they will approach the game with a quiet confidence after two good wins over Argentina last month.

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South AfricaThere was much annoyance among Springbok fans when it was announced not long before South Africa’s test match against Argentina in the Rugby Championship that the release of Bryan Habana was required by his new club Toulon.  This increased even more when it came to light that five of the players in the current Springbok Squad for the Rugby Championship were being ‘released’ to go back to their clubs in France while the rest of the players would return for a break to South Africa.

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