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Last Updated: Monday, 22 October 2007, 07:13 GMT 08:13 UK
Habana wins player of year award
Bryan Habana
Habana opened the World Cup with a four-try salvo against Samoa
South Africa winger Bryan Habana has been named the International Rugby Board's player of the year.

The Springboks star equalled Jonah Lomu's record of eight World Cup tries as his team clinched the trophy with a 15-6 win over England on Saturday.

Habana, 24, pipped Argentina's Felipe Contepomi and Juan Hernandez, All Blacks flanker Richie McCaw and French centre Yannick Jauzion to the award.

Champions South Africa were named team of the year, with Jake White top coach.

The winners were selected by an independent panel of judges that was made up of former internationals, with every Test from the start of the RBS Six Nations to the World Cup final taken into account.


Pierre de Coubertin, Wilson Whineary, Dr Danny Craven, Gareth Edwards and John Eales were inducted into the IRB's Hall of Fame after a public vote, while France's veteran lock Fabien Pelous was handed a special merit award.

Takudzwa Ngwenya's try for the United States in their World Cup pool defeat by the Springboks, during which he outstripped Habana, was named try of the year.

Despite his accolade, Habana refused to take the credit for his side's World Cup triumph.

"I just wanted to help the team effort," he insisted. "Everyone in the squad made a contribution - from number one to number 30."

But South Africa captain John Smit was quick to hail the Blue Bulls flyer.

He said: "The thing I like about Bryan is, as good as he is on the field, he is as normal a South African as you would meet off the field.

"I think that is the beauty of his talent and how grateful he is for it."

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