Top 14 Orange
Habana: 'I'm not here for a holiday'
July 25, 2013
Bryan Habana is welcomed to Toulon by their owner Mourad Boudjellal © Getty Images
Toulon's latest marquee signing Bryan Habana is adamant he has joined the Heineken Cup champions to win trophies and not just pick up his sizeable pay-packet.
Habana has signed a three-year deal with Toulon with reports suggesting he is on an annual wage in the region of €504,000 (£435k). He is just the latest Galactico to arrive at Mourad Boudjellal's club and will link-up with other pre-season recruits Wallaby winger Drew Mitchell and All Blacks lock Ali Williams.
But Habana told L'Equipe he is keen to continue turning out for the Springboks while in Toulon, similar to what Francois Louw has done at Bath, and he is not there simply to bolster his retirement coffers. Habana said: "I've not come here for a holiday and simply to take a salary. I've chosen to play at Toulon because I want to carry on playing for the Springboks, maybe to play at the 2015 World Cup.
"I'm looking forward to the experience of French rugby, the singing and chanting in the stadiums, which we don't have in South Africa. Bernard Laporte has put together good strategies and the club doesn't only play attractive rugby but winning rugby too. I'd like to make a contribution to success over the next three seasons.
"Bakkies [Botha] has told me there is a great atmosphere at the club with no one behaving as if they were a star."
Habana bids farewell to the Stormers © Getty Images
Sitting alongside Habana when he was unveiled on Wednesday was Toulon owner Boudjellal. The millionaire has brought a host of stellar names to the Top 14 side over the past few years - including Habana's Boks team-mates Bakkies Botha, Victor Matfield and Danie Rossouw. But bringing Habana to Toulon has been a labour of love with Boudjellal having had his sights on the winger five years ago.
"Each year I tested out the water with his agents," Boudjellal said. "I remember meeting his father back in the days when we were in the second division (2008). We then tried to get him to sign for us with Philippe Saint-Andre.
"This year, it all panned out naturally - he's arrived at a moment in his career when he wanted to discover something new and join his friends, like Bakkies where he wants to really achieve something."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd