Stormers dismiss Habana rumours
South Africa's Player of the Year, record-breaking Springbok wing Bryan Habana, is not going anywhere in the near future.
This is the forthright message from WP Rugby Managing Director Rob Wagner, following reports that the 29-year-old is again on French club Toulon's wishlist.
"Bryan [Habana] has a contract with us [WP Rugby] till 2014," Wagner told this website, when asked about reports that linked the 83-Test Bok to the cash-flush French outfit.
Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal has been chasing Habana for a number of years.
According to 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.
The reports in France claimed the player, who missed South Africa's year-end tour after undergoing surgery for a knee injury suffered in the Currie Cup Final, met Toulon Manager Bernard Laporte in London at weekend.
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 likes of Jonny Wilkinson, Carl Hayman, Matt Giteau, Bakkies Botha and Gethin Jenkins are all on his payroll.
However Habana – whose possible arrival in Toulon has already twice done the rounds in the past – will not be joining that list any time soon.
There is no doubt that Boudjellal is still after the player who has scored a record 47 tries in the 83 internationals.
Habana was named SA's Player of the Year for the third time earlier this month – after scooping the honour in 2005 and 2007 as well.
The 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.
By Jan de Koning