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Toulon give Bryan Habana freedom to shine in Glasgow

By Niall Crozier

European champions Toulon have released South Africa winger Bryan Habana to play Sevens for the Blitzbokke at the Commonwealth Games. Habana had been named in the original squad to compete in Glasgow only for his all-conquering French employers – last season's Heineken Cup and Top 14 double winners – to decide not to allow him to participate.

But now, in a change of heart, Toulon have announced that the 97-times capped flyer has been released to compete in the tournament before linking up with the Springboks to play in forthcoming Rugby Championship against New Zealand, Australia and Argentina.

England, Scotland and Wales will be among the 16 countries taking in the two-day festival of rugby, with each of the 45 games being staged at Ibrox Park on July 26 and 27.

The Pool A line-up is New Zealand, Canade, Scotland and Barbados. Pool B's teams are South Africa, Kenya, Cook Islands and Trinidad and Tobago. Pool C's runners are Samoa, Wales, Papua New Guinea and Malaysia, with Pool D featuring England, Australia, Sri Lanka and Uganda.

With Sevens featuring for the first time in the Olympics two years hence in Rio de Janeiro, those particpating in the 2014 Commonweaalth Games will aim to make the most of that advantage.

As in the 15-man version, New Zealand are the team to beat. They have not lost a match since the introduction of Sevens to the Commonwealth Games at Kuala Lumpur in 1998, following the gold medal they won there with three more in Manchester (2002), Melbourne (2006) and New Delhi (2010).

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