Bryan Habana says South Africa talent move abroad for better life
Last Updated: 10/05/17 10:48pm
Bryan Habana insists the Springboks' talent drain is not down to money and beleives many South African stars move abroad in search of a better life.
World Cup winner Habana does not expect World Rugby's extended five-year residency rule to keep top prospects in South Africa - because of the country's unique political tribulations.
The residency qualification period to represent a new nation will be extended from three to five years in 2020 as rugby bosses bid to stop stars switching allegiances, but Toulon wing Habana does not anticipate the switch helping to stem the flow of South African stars moving overseas.
The 33-year-old insisted South Africa's crime levels, along with the continued politicisation of rugby, will keep pushing top players away from the country.
"I think a lot of people outside South Africa don't understand that there are a number of unique things happening in South Africa at the moment," said Habana.
"Not only from a rugby point of view, but from a political, economic and safety point of view.
"A lot of people think rugby players go overseas to gain money, to gain a residency in another country, but there are so many different factors which people take into consideration."
South Africa must heed the mandated transformation policy of selecting squads comprising 50 per cent of players of non-white ethnic origin by 2019 and, while Habana fully endorses the policy for his home country's political future, he also admits the fruit of that ruling will force more stars to move overseas.
"A lot of youngsters might move given the transformation charter which has been put down from a political point of view," he continued.
"There are so many factors that no other rugby-playing nation has to deal with. No other nation has a history of apartheid and no other rugby-playing nation has an understanding of 70 per cent of the population needing an opportunity that they didn't have 20 or 25 years prior.
"It's such an intricate thing that if you don't come from South Africa then you'll never understand it.
"When these youngsters move, it's not just about leaving South African shores - it's about taking your future into consideration."
South Africa's bid to host World Cup 2023 is back on track after political in-fighting halted proceedings. Habana hopes World Rugby can look past his homeland's troubles and plot a repeat of the restorative powers that so bound South Africa's Rainbow Nation through hosting the 1995 tournament.
"Ireland and France are the other contenders and they didn't have a political imposition put on them halfway through their campaign," Habana added.
"We want to be playing a level of rugby that sees us play our part in inspiring and giving hope and making South Africa a better place.
"I was involved in 1995 as a youngster and I saw Nelson Mandela walk out in that Springboks jersey which could never have happened in apartheid time.
"But there I sat as a 13-year-old and it inspired me to hopefully one day inspire that next generation and to bring a nation together which so badly needs it."
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