SA Rugby Awards nominees announced

Brad Morgan

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24 October 2011

The nominees for the South African Rugby Player of the Year award were announced on the weekend. All five players were part of the Springbok squad that did duty at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

Interestingly, two of the five, Bismarck du Plessis and Francois Hougaard, were not first choice players in their positions in the World Cup, although few would argue that they did not play better than the men that started ahead of them. in Du Plessis' case, he is widely regarded as the best hooker in the game.

Schalk Burger is another interesting choice. Granted, he played superbly at the World Cup, but he was sidelined for quite some time leading up the tournament because of a broken finger.

Contrast

The remaining two nominees offer up a nice contrast: the recently-retired star of the forward pack Victor Matfield and the youngest member of the Springboks, backline ace Pat Lambie.

Burger and Du Plessis are also nominated in the category for Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Year, while Hougaard and Lambie also feature in the list of nominees for Young Player of the Year.

Lambie will face the Golden Lions’ Elton Jantjies and Jaco Taute, and Free State Cheetahs' flyhalf in the category of Young Player of the Year, which was won last year by Jantjies.

Jantjies, Taute, and Goosen are also a nominees for the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year, along with the Sharks' French flyhalf Freddie Michalak and MTN Golden Lions' captain Josh Strauss, who rivals Proteas' star Hashim Amla for having the best beard in South African sport.

Team of the Year

The Boland Cavaliers are in the running for Team of the Year, after they thrashed the Eastern Province Kings 43-12 in the Absa Currie Cup First Division final. They also sport four of the five men up for the First Division Player of the Year, with only the EP Kings' Luke Watson breaking up their monopoly.

The Cavaliers' opposition for the team award includfes the resurgent Golden Lions team that finished top of the log in the Currie Cup's Premier Division and then beat Western Province, with Province's Springboks included, in the semi-finals of the competition this past weekend to secure a home final against the defending champion Sharks.

The Springboks Sevens team is also in the running, on the back of a season in which they claimed titles in Las Vegas, London, and Edinburgh.

The Stormers are nominated following a Super Rugby season in which they reached the semi-finals, while the University of Cape Town, the winners of the Varsity Cup, complete the line-up.

Super Rugby nominees

Three Stormers feature in the nominations for Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Year. Apart from the previously mentioned Schalk Burger and Bismarck du Plessis, Stormers' Gio Aplon and Duane Vermeulen are also up for the award, as is the exciting Cheetahs' scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius, who will ply his trade for Australia's Waratahs next season.

The nominees for Absa Coach of the Year reflect the most successful teams of the past season: Allister Coetzee (DHL Stormers and Western Province), Eugene Eloff (Regent Boland Cavaliers), John Mitchell (MTN Lions and Golden Lions), John Plumtree (The Sharks), and Paul Treu (Springbok Sevens).

The glittering awards ceremony will take place at the Lyric Theatre at Gold Reef City. Tickets will be made available to the public from Computicket from Wednesday, 26 October, while the ceremony will be broadcast live on Supersport from 19:30 on 3 November.

AWARDS NOMINEES

SARU Rugby Player of the Year:

Schalk Burger, Bismarck du Plessis, Francois Hougaard, Pat Lambie, Victor Matfield

Young Player of the Year

Johan Goosen, Francois Hougaard, Elton Jantjies, Pat Lambie, Jaco Taute

Absa Team of the Year

Regent Boland Cavaliers, MTN Golden Lions, Springbok Sevens, DHL Stormers, University of Cape Town

Absa Coach of the Year

Allister Coetzee (DHL Stormers and Western Province), Eugene Eloff (Regent Boland Cavaliers), John Mitchell (MTN Lions and Golden Lions), John Plumtree (The Sharks), Paul Treu (Springbok Sevens)

Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Year

Gio Aplon, Schalk Burger, Bismarck du Plessis, Sarel Pretorius, Duane Vermeulen

Absa Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year

Johan Goosen, Elton Jantjies, Frederic Michalak, Josh Strauss, Jaco Taute

Absa Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year

Bolla Conradie, Danwel Demas, Willie le Roux, Luke Watson, Elgar Watts

Vodacom Cup Player of the Year

Marnitz Boshoff, Marcell Coetzee, Lionel Cronje, JJ Engelbrecht, Juan Imhoff

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