Own Correspondent
3 minute read
24 Jan 2020
9:59 am

Bok hero Pieter-Steph makes it a memorable double in 2019

Own Correspondent

The irrepressible flanker made history by becoming only the third player to win the SA Rugby Player-of-the-Year accolade three times.

In an interview with The Citizen, the World Rugby Player of the Year, Pieter-Steph du Toit, talks about the injury that set him back this year as well as the excitement that is building ahead of the tour by the British and Irish Lions. Picture: Getty Images

Pieter-Steph du Toit capped off phenomenal 2019 season when he added the prestigious SA Rugby Player-of-the-Year award to his World Rugby Player-of-the-Year accolade.

Rassie Erasmus and the Springboks were also honoured for a brilliant 2019, where they won the Rugby World Cup and Rugby Championship, as well as the World Rugby Awards for Coach and Team-of-the-Year, by walking away with the same awards in South Africa.

The 27-year-old Du Toit beat Damian de Allende, Cheslin Kolbe, Makazole Mapimpi and Duane Vermeulen to the top individual award in South African rugby.

In the process, the Springbok looseforward became only the third player, behind Naas Botha and Bryan Habana, to take the title for a third time, after he also won it in 2016 and 2018.

Mr Mark Alexander, president of SA Rugby, congratulated all the winners for their contribution to a memorable 2019 season in South Africa.

“Pieter-Steph led the charge for the Springboks and he deserves this accolade to go with his World Player of the Year Award,” said Mr Alexander.

“The 2019-season will be ingrained in our memories for decades to come, thanks to Rassie, Siya and the Springboks, but all our national teams did well and we are proud of all the winners.

“At franchise and provincial level we also saw an upward surge which bodes well for the forthcoming season. Congratulations to all the winners and to all our teams, coaches and players across all levels here in South Africa, best of luck for the 2020 season – may we continue to spread hope and happiness.”

Other big winners from the Boks’ RWC squad included Herschel Jantjies (Young Player-of-the-Year) and Handré Pollard (Super Rugby Player-of-the-Year).

The 23-year-old Jantjies, who played in 10 of Boks’ Tests in2019, arrived on the international scene like a bullet train, scoring a brace of tries in his Test debut against the Wallabies in Johannesburg, as well as a crucial five-pointer in the drawn Test against New Zealand in Wellington.

Pollard, the top points’ scorer at the RWC in Japan, walked away with the award for Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Year. His 194 season points were the most in 2019 as the Springbok pivot helped steer the Vodacom Bulls to the quarter-finals.

Springbok Sevens Player-of-the-Year, Siviwe Soyizwapi, had a stellar year for the Blitzboks, finishing the 2018/19 season as leading try-scorer and playing in all 10 tournaments.

He took over the captaincy from injured Philip Snyman halfway through the season and in that capacity lifted trophies in Vancouver and Singapore.

Junior Springbok Player-of-the-Year, Jaden Hendrikse, was a key figure in the SA U20s’ 2019 World Rugby U20 Championship campaign in Argentina, with his accurate goal-kicking and play-making abilities earning him a regular place in the starting line-up.

Livewire hooker Joseph Dweba was a standout for the Free State Cheetahs as they won the Currie Cup and was deservedly named Currie Cup Premier Division Player-of-the-Year, while Cody Basson, tough-as-nails looseforward of the Griffons won the Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year Award.

Aimee Barrett-Theron was named the Referee-of-the-Year.

She took charge of six Test matches in 2019, which included the opening match of the Women’s Six Nations, where she will again be in action in February.

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