Sun. Sep 20th, 2020

I think it would have a much greater impact than ’95: Habana

springboks transformation Siya kolisi Bryan HabanaBryan Habana feels Siya Kolisi lifting the Rugby World Cup in Japan might trump Nelson Mandela’s influential moment in 1995.

i think it would have a much greater impact than 95 habana 1024x656 - I think it would have a much greater impact than ’95: Habana

Aphiwe Dyantyi 1200x769 - I think it would have a much greater impact than ’95: Habana

Record-breaking Springbok wing Bryan Habana has opined that Siya Kolisi lifting the Rugby World Cup in Japan might trump Nelson Mandela’s influential moment at the 1995 tournament in South Africa.

Habana won the World Cup on foreign soil in 2007 when he was part of Jake White’s remarkable team who claimed the Webb Ellis trophy in France.

The wing feels that Kolisi’s life struggles and subsequent success could provide the inspiration for South Africa’s next generation of Springboks in the same way as 1995 did for him and so many others.

Habana feels that Kolisi is the kind of skipper who can lift not just his team but an entire nation.

Speaking to the Guardian‘s Martin Pengelly in New York, Habana said:

“I think it would have a much greater impact than ’95. I think seeing Siya run out as captain in June last year pulled on the emotional strings like ’95, and rightly so.

“For me personally, knowing Siya, knowing his personal history where he literally got raised by his grandmother, had nothing, then got an opportunity … for me this is about a player who first and foremost got chosen on his rugby playing ability.”

Habana is of the opinion that Kolisi can help the country by providing an example of South African excellence.

“He got made captain on his leadership capabilities and thrived on that responsibility. He wasn’t a token player, being given a position because of our country’s history,” he added.

“If South Africa go on and win a World Cup this year outside of South Africa, with Siya Kolisi as the captain, it will be absolutely monumental, especially in a World Cup that is going to be so tough to win.

“For us as a country to have that inspiration, for 70% of our population to have that example, would be immensely important, on a par with Mandela in ’95 if not greater. It would be historic.”

The Springboks will play in an abbreviated Rugby Championship and meet Argentina and Japan in one-off Tests before the Rugby World Cup gets underway in September.

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