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South Africa rugby star Bryan Habana eyes Olympics

Bryan Habana

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 30: Bryan Habana of South Africa with Santiago Cordero (L) and Matias Moroni (R) of Argentina in close attendance during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Bronze Final match between Argentina and South Africa at Olympic Stadium on October 30, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

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CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — South African rugby great Bryan Habana is in contention to play at the Olympics after being included Wednesday in the national sevens squad for the 2015-16 season.

Rugby sevens is making its debut at next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Habana, who has made 117 test appearances for South Africa’s 15-a-side team and is its leading try-scorer, last played international sevens more than a decade ago.

He was picked in the sevens training squad alongside other 15-man Springboks Damian de Allende and Lwazi Mvovo. All three were at the recent Rugby World Cup.

The sevens in Rio is likely to include plenty of big names from rugby’s main game, attracted by the rare opportunity to win an Olympic medal. The 15-a-side game was previously on the Olympic program but was last played at the 1924 Games.

Australia international Quade Cooper recently included a clause in his contract with French club Toulon that allows him to play at the Olympics in August.

Habana, who also plays for Toulon, tried to make South Africa’s sevens team for the 2014 Commonwealth Games but wasn’t released in time from club duties.

At 32, Habana probably won’t play in another World Cup. He is tied with New Zealand great Jonah Lomu for the most tries at the World Cup with 15.

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