Just as Bryan Habana nears the end of his record-setting career, Courtnall Skosan prepares to step in the legend’s shoes in the next match against France on Saturday. Habana already has a record 124 Test caps, and while he hasn’t announced retirement, head coach Allister Coetzee has not given any information on whether he will participate in the next match. Habana last played for South Africa in a November loss to Italy.
Meanwhile, Skosan is in line to take up Habana’s number 11 jersey, and it is fitting considering Skosan grew up idolizing Habana and modeling his style of play after the legend. “The guys who wore the jersey ahead of me inspired me to play for the Springboks. Bryan Habana is a very special player and he is a role model. My door at home was full of posters of Bryan Habana; he was my hero,” Skosan says. He says that he specifically began copying Habana’s running style in his school days. Skosan also says he was particularly pleased when Habana sent him a message of congratulations after South Africa announced Skosan was added to the roster. “It’s crazy actually,” Skosan said of receiving the message. “I haven’t met him before, but we have been in contact on social media,” he continued.
Skosan has a similar reputation to Habana, in that both are known for their speed and excellent finishing. In the 2017 Super Rugby competition, Skosan has scored eight tries so far. He is humble, crediting his teammates with creating those opportunities for him. He especially cited captain Warren Whitelye, calling him “an amazing person and an inspiring leader. He is somebody you can look up to and I have no doubt that his leadership will shine through here.” South Africans hope that Skosan’s improvement will continue showing itself this weekend.