The Springbok legend Bryan Habana has said he would have taken the knee as a player given the chance in an extraordinary interview conducted in front of a bunch of other players.
Habana is part of a book being launched about his 10-year spell in the international game, when he was the Springbok loose forward and winger and also represented Europe’s table-topping Leinster.
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In the documentary, Habana and other Springbok and Leinster players talk about how their attitudes to rugby was changed by the 2003 World Cup, with the subsequent injury to Jonah Lomu and the South African Rugby Union’s ban on the use of both knees had an enormous impact on Habana and the other players.
“I was one of those rugby players who was probably going to take a knee in the tackle,” he told the programme The Dream Team, which will be broadcast on Friday. “But the introduction of the knee and the way rugby had become played was going to have its day and change everything.
“You didn’t have to have both knees to play but what you have to do now is don’t run a lot on a knee. It’s going to make you slower, it’s going to make you more powerful. You have to take your knee off and take the collision now.
“Towards the end of my career, I would say almost all the players would have done the knee. [Tim] Horan was there the other day saying he still ran on that knee. We went through it together.
“No disrespect to my other rugby brothers that play today – who are the best in the world – but I think they are like me when we were younger. We would probably have taken a knee.”