The five Springboks up for the SA Rugby Player of the Year award. Photo: SA Rugby website.

World Cup-winning Springboks dominate SA Rugby awards nominations

Five of the Springboks’ two-time World Cup winners have been nominated for the SA Rugby Player of the Year Award for the 2023 season.


The five Springboks up for the SA Rugby Player of the Year award. Photo: SA Rugby website.

SA Rugby announced the nominees (filled with Springboks) – as voted for by members of the media and key stakeholders within the governing body – in nine categories on Tuesday. The winners will be named early next year, along with the annual Referee of the Year and the Provincial Women’s Player of the Year.

Etzebeth, who is up to defend the award he won last season, will face stern competition from Siya Kolisi and Pieter-Steph du Toit, the winners of the Player of the Year Awards in 2021 and 2019, respectively, as well as Bok scrum anchor Frans Malherbe and Damian Willemse, a previous nominee in the category for Young Player of the Year (U23) and winner of the Youth Weeks Player of the Year Award in 2016.

Four of the five nominees for the Young Player of the Year Award were also on the shortlist last year, when Canan Moodie beat off the challenges of Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu, Jaden Hendrikse and Evan Roos. This year, Ruan Venter has also been nominated.

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Ricardo Duarttee, who was named Rookie of the Year Award at the annual World Rugby Sevens Series Awards, is up against Christie Grobbelaar and Shilton van Wyk for the Springbok Sevens Men’s Player of the Year Award.

And the three nominees for the Junior Springbok Player of the Year Award are team captain Paul de Villiers, who led the SA U20s to a bronze medal at the World U20 Championship, as well as Corne Beets and Damian Markus.

The categories for Coach and Team of the Year are straight shootouts between Jacques Nienaber and the Springboks, John Dobson and the DHL Stormers, and Hawies Fourie and the Cheetahs.

On the Currie Cup front, the Cheetahs’ Ruan Pienaar is up against two Pumas players in Devon Williams and Tinus de Beer for the Premier Division award, while the Boland duo of Cameron Hufke and Darian Hock are up against Keagan Fortune of the Valke for the First Division Award.

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“We had a wonderful year culminating in the Rugby World Cup victory, and I would like to congratulate all the nominees not only for their performances during the year, but also for their contribution to the local rugby landscape,” said SA Rugby president Mark Alexander.

“All the names on the list of nominees can look back at the year and be proud of their performances.

“A special word of thanks and congratulations to Jacques, Siya and the Springboks though – you were great ambassadors for South Africa and by defending the Webb Ellis Cup in France, you have ensured that the name of the Bok team of 2023 will forever be written in the annals of our game as one of the greatest.”

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SPRINGBOKS LEAD THE WAY: The full list of nominees:

SA Rugby Men’s Player of the Year
Pieter-Steph du Toit
Eben Etzebeth
Siya Kolisi
Frans Malherbe
Damian Willemse

Springbok Women’s Player of the Year
Aseza Hele
Libbie Janse van Rensburg
Babalwa Latsha
Rights Mkhari
Nadine Roos

SA Rugby Young Player of the Year
Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu (Stormers)
Jaden Hendrikse (Springboks/ Sharks)
Canan Moodie (Springboks/ Bulls)
Evan Roos (Springboks/Stormers)
Ruan Venter (Lions)

Springbok Sevens Men’s Player of the Year
Ricardo Duarttee
Christie Grobbelaar
Shilton van Wyk

Junior Springbok Player of the Year
Corne Beets
Paul de Villiers
Damian Markus

Team of the Year
Cheetahs (Currie Cup)
Stormers (URC)

Coach of the Year
John Dobson (Stormers)
Hawies Fourie (Cheetahs)
Jacques Nienaber (Springboks)

Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year
Tinus de Beer (Pumas)
Ruan Pienaar (Cheetahs)
Devon Williams (Pumas)

Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year
Keagan Fortune (Valke)
Darian Hock (Boland Kavaliers)
Cameron Hufke (Boland Kavaliers)

Springbok Women
The list of Springbok Women Player of the Year nominees. Photo: SA Rugby.