Springbok stars Percy Montgomery and Bryan Habana were congratulated by Regan Hoskins, president of the South African Rugby Union following their receipt of the Order of Ikhamanga on Tuesday.
The awards are bestowed by the state president on citizens who have excelled in their field of endeavour and the record-breaking pair received their awards at a ceremony at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
“These honours are richly deserved and on behalf of the South African Rugby Union and the whole rugby community I would like to offer our most hearty congratulations,” said Hoskins.
“Bryan and Monty are Springboks who have helped bring joy to our country with their outstanding play over the years and have produced world-class performances to help their teams win World Cups and Vodacom Tri-Nations trophies.
“I should also like to thank the office of the presidency for looking kindly on rugby and recognising the contribution Springbok players can make to the life of South Africa.”
Montgomery and Habana received the silver category of the award, becoming only the second and third recipients of the Order from the field of rugby, following the investiture of former Springbok captain Morne du Plessis’s in the Order in September 2007.
Montgomery (34) recently retired from Test rugby after becoming the first Springbok to earn a century of caps (102), during which time he set innumerable records and turned in match-winning goal-kicking performances.
Habana (25) equalled Jonah Lomu’s record of eight tries in a single Rugby World Cup tournament in the Springboks’ race to the title in France a year ago and is second on the all-time South African try-scorers’ list with 31 from 43 Tests.