The Vodacom Blue Bulls speedster Bryan Habana, who was named as the IRB Player of the Year on Sunday night, is only the second Springbok to receive the prestigious award.
Habana was picked ahead of Argentina centre Felipe Contepomi, New Zealand flanker Richie McCaw, French centre Yannick Jauzion and Argentina flyhalf Juan Hernandez.
The winners were selected by the Awards' independent panel of judges, made up of former internationals with over 500 caps between them.
Habana scored eight tries in the 2007 Rugby World Cup and has already scored 30 tries in 35 test matches.
Blessed with great speed, pace and flair he made his test debut as a sub against England at Twickenham on 20 November 2004, scoring a try. He had previously represented the Springbok Sevens in Welllington and Los Angeles during the 2003/2004 IRB Seven's Series. He also played for the SA Under-21 side at the IRB World Cup in Scotland.
Habana started all 12 Tests for the Springboks in 2005 on the left wing, scoring 12 tries and establishing himself as one of the world's most lethal finishers. His two long-range tries against the Wallabies in Perth helped the Springboks win their first Vodacom Tri-Nations match overseas since 1998.
Habana played all his schoolboy rugby at scrumhalf, before current Lions coach Eugene Eloff convinced him to move to centre.
In 2004, he was the leading try scorer at the U21 World Championship, and scored a try as a replacement on his Bok debut against England later that year.
Earlier in the 2004 season he was a member of the Renegades team that played the Vodacom Rugby Super 12 regions in the build-up to the event.
He was a key member of the Lions Vodacom Cup and ABSA Currie Cup teams in 2004 with his performances earning him the coveted Sasol Most Promising Player of the Year Award for 2004.
He represented the Lions at Under-16 and Under-19 level and played Coca-Cola Craven Week for the Province in 2000. He made his Under 20 debut in 2003.
Habana has had an outstanding 2007 season, scoring the match-winning try for the Bulls in the Vodacom Super 14 final against the Sharks and dotting down four times in the two-Test series against England. Injury ruled him out of the Vodacom Tri-Nations.
FULL NAME: Bryan Gary Habana HEIGHT: 1, 80 m WEIGHT: 94 kg BIRTHPLACE: Johannesburg BIRTHDATE: 12 June 1983
COLLEGE/SCHOOL: RAU/King Edward VII School POSITION: Wing PRESENT PROVINCE : Blue Bulls PREVIOUS PROVINCES: Lions MOST DIFFICULT OPPOSING TEAM: New Zealand MOST RESPECTED PLAYER: Tana Umaga BEST COUNTRY VISITED:USA BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON CAREER: Dad
OTHER SPORTS & LEISURE INTERESTS: Golf, Playstation SIGNIFICANT BOOKS: Lance Armstrong (Every second counts) FAVOURITE FILM: Men of Honour, Any given Sunday FAVOURITE ACTOR/ACTRESS: Denzel Washington, Kate Beckinsale FAVOURITE TV PROGRAMME: Friends / 24 FAVOURITE SINGER / MUSICAL GROUPS: Usher FAVOURITE FOOD: Mom's food FAVOURITE RESTAURANT: Pachas SPORTS PERSON MOST ADMIRED: Lance Armstrong/Tiger Woods