Habana is noted for his speed and has been timed as one of the fastest wingers in rugby. He once famously raced a cheetah for charity. He has been timed at 10.2 secs for the 100 metres sprint.
Named Bryan Gary Habana after former Manchester United footballers Bryan Robson and Gary Bailey, he played at outside centre and scrum-half in provincial and age group rugby, but once he moved to the wing he turned into a world-beater.
In his golden year of 2007, he also won global acclaim for his last minute championship-winning try for Blue Bulls in the Super 14 final against the Sharks, one of the most amazing finishes ever seen in a major championship.
In the 2009 British and Irish Lions tour, Habana produced another defining moment. In the crucial Second Test, the Lions were leading 19-8 with 20 minutes to go when Habana burst through their defence and scored one of his most memorable tries. The Springboks went on to win the match and the series.
In the subsequent Tri-Nations Series, Habana played his 50th match for South Africa. The year also saw him relocate from Pretoria to the Indian Ocean coast and switch from Bulls to Western Province.
In 2011, Habana played in his second World Cup, though the Springboks only managed to reach the quarter-finals where they were knocked out by Australia.
Having resisted a move to Europe for a number of years, Habana, at 30, decided it was time to try Northern Hemisphere rugby and in July 2013 he signed for Heineken (European) Cup winners Toulon. He said at the time: "I've also come here with the 2015 World Cup in mind as I'm leaving the door open to that, given there's no rule that excludes South Africans playing abroad from selection.”
When he was appointed a member of the Laureus Ambassadors programme in March 2009, he said: “I believe that successful sportsmen should give what they can back to society. The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation supports many inspiring projects and I hope to be able to work with Laureus on projects in South Africa as the means to help disadvantaged young people in my own country.”
Rugby legend Morné du Plessis, Chairman of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation South Africa, said: “I am delighted to welcome Bryan into the Laureus Family. He is not only a global rugby star, but he is an absolute hero in South Africa and having him as a Laureus Ambassador is a major encouragement to our work.”