South Africa’s Bryan Habana has won the International Rugby Players’ Association (IRPA) try of the year award for his score against New Zealand in September, it was announced Thursday.
The winger became the second Springbok to win the award, following Jaque Fourie who was honoured in 2009 for his try in the second Test against the British and Irish Lions.
Habana, the 2007 International Rugby Board (IRB) player of the year, stunned world champions New Zealand when he took a pass from flanker Francois Louw at full speed, chipped ahead and gathered to score a try that briefly handed the Springboks the lead seven minutes into the second half of the contest in Dunedin.
However, the All Blacks recovered to win 21-11.
“Scoring a try against the All Blacks is always special, but scoring against them in New Zealand, is even more special,” said Habana in a statement.
“I really enjoyed getting across the try-line in Dunedin — contributing to the success of the team and also lifting the spirits of my team-mates.
“Winning this award is very special and hopefully I can continue scoring tries for the Springboks for a very long time,” added Habana, 29, who has so far grabbed 47 tries in 83 Tests for South Africa.
Fourie, All Blacks great Mils Muliaina, Wales’s former IRB player of the year Shane Williams and Japan’s Daisuke Ohata, the leading try scorer in Test rugby, formed the panel of judges who chose Habana’s effort ahead of the three other shortlisted tries scored by New Zealand duo Hosea Gear and Julian Savea and Julien Malzieu of France.
Consideration was also given to votes cast by rugby fans from all around the world via the IRB’s interactive platforms.