Five key members of the Springbok squad in 2013 will go head-to-head for the annual SA Rugby Player of the Year Award, while the Steval Pumas have been rewarded for their great form this season with nominations in four categories.
Springbok captain Jean de Villiers, the winner in 2008 who led South Africa to 10 victories in 12 Tests in 2013, will go up against Bismarck du Plessis, Eben Etzebeth, Willie le Roux and Duane Vermeulen for the most prestigious individual award in South African rugby.
Etzebeth is also nominated in the category of Absa Young Player of the Year, where he will face stiff competition from fellow Springboks Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi and Jan Serfontein, as well as the fleet-footed Springbok Sevens and SA Under-20 star Cheslin Kolbe.
The award for Absa Coach of the Year is a straight three-sided shoot-out between Heyneke Meyer, Jimmy Stonehouse and Brendan Venter while the teams they respectively coached in 2013 – the Springboks, the Steval Pumas (Stonehouse also coached the SA President’s XV to victory in the IRB Tbilisi Cup) and The Sharks’ Absa Currie Cup side – are the three nominations for Team of the Year.
Pumas try-scoring ace Rosco Speckman has been nominated in two categories – Vodacom Cup and Absa Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year – meaning the Mpumalanga Rugby Union, winners of the Absa Currie Cup First Division and Vodacom Cup runners-up, has capped a great season with a total of four nominations.
Le Roux (Toyota Cheetahs), Vermeulen or Adriaan Strauss (Toyota Cheetahs) will be named Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Year.
Seven players were nominated in two or more categories. They are Etzebeth, Le Roux, Vermeulen, Speckman, Kolbe (Young Player, SA Under-20 and Absa Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year), Seabelo Senatla (SA Under-20 and SA Sevens Player of the Year) and Fred Zeilinga (Vodacom Cup and Absa Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year).
“We’ve included various important stakeholders, including the media, public, administrators and the provincial and franchise coaches, in the voting process,” said SARU CEO Jurie Roux.
“The coaches play a vital role in the success of a team, so it is pleasing to see them involved in the voting process yet again. I think the nominees in the various categories are a fair reflection of what has been a very good year for South African rugby.
“Looking at the votes we got from the public, it is clear that our fans know their rugby. All the categories were hotly contested and I would like to wish the various nominees good luck for the Awards.”
The nominations for the Supersport Try of the Year Award will be finalised early in 2014 and the winners will be named at a glittering function at Gold Reef City in Johannesburg on 12 February next year.
All the nominations for 2013 (in alphabetical order):
SARU Rugby Player of the Year:
1. Jean de Villiers
2. Bismarck du Plessis
3. Eben Etzebeth
4. Willie le Roux
5. Duane Vermeulen
Absa Young Player of the Year:
1. Pieter-Steph du Toit
2. Eben Etzebeth
3. Cheslin Kolbe
4. Siya Kolisi
5. Jan Serfontein
Absa Team of the Year:
1. Steval Pumas (Vodacom Cup, Absa Currie Cup First Division)
2. The Sharks (Absa Currie Cup)
Absa Coach of the Year:
1. Heyneke Meyer (Springboks)
2. Jimmy Stonehouse (Steval Pumas)
3. Brendan Venter (The Sharks Absa Currie Cup)
SA Under-20 Player of the Year:
1. Jacques du Plessis
2. Cheslin Kolbe
3. Seabelo Senatla
SA Sevens Player of the Year:
1. Cornal Hendricks
2. Frankie Horne
3. Seabelo Senatla
Vodacom Super Rugby Player of Year:
1. Willie le Roux (Toyota Cheetahs)
2. Adriaan Strauss (Toyota Cheetahs)
3. Duane Vermeulen (DHL Stormers)
Vodacom Cup Player of the Year:
1. Marnitz Boshoff (MTN Golden Lions)
2. Rosco Speckman (Steval Pumas)
3. Fred Zeilinga (The Sharks XV)
Absa Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year:
1. Cheslin Kolbe (DHL Western Province)
2. Scarra Ntubeni (DHL Western Province)
3. Fred Zeilinga (The Sharks)
Absa Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year:
1. Alshaun Bock (SWD Eagles)
2. Tiger Mangweni (EP Kings)
3. Rosco Speckman (Steval Pumas)
Note: Other awards that will be presented on 12 February 2014 are in the categories of SARPA Players’ Player of the Year, Supersport Try of the Year, Coca-Cola Craven Week Player of the Year, Marriott Referee Award, Women’s Player of the Year and Cell C Community Cup Player of the Tournament.