Jacques van der Westhuyzen

By Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Head of Sport

Etzebeth, Boks win big at SA Rugby awards

Young Canan Moodie also made it a 'double' while women's Bok Libbie Janse van Rensburg took home two awards.

Springbok and Sharks lock enforcer Eben Etzebeth has done the double — after being named SA Rugby Player of the Year for 2023, after also capturing the top prize in South African rugby the previous year.

Etzebeth beat out the competition of fellow Springbok World Cup winners, captain Siya Kolisi, prop Frans Malherbe, flank Pieter-Steph du Toit and fullback Damian Willemse for the award.

The 32-year-old with 119 Bok caps to his name is only the second player to win back-to-back awards after Du Tout did the double in 2018 and 2019.

The big lock played a key role in the Boks winning a second straight World Cup title in France in 2023 after also winning in Japan in 2019.

The triumphant Boks, who are now four-time World Cup winners, cleaned up in the other categories in which they were nominated, taking home the prizes for Team of the Year and Coach of the Year for Jacques Nienaber.

Jacques Nienaber
World Cup-winning coach from 2023 Jacques Nienaber. Picture: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

‘2023 ingrained in our memories’

SA Rugby boss Mark Alexander said at the awards function held in Joburg on Thursday night: “Eben was at the front of the Springboks’ charge to their second Rugby World Cup title, backed up by the rest of the squad, coaches and management, all of whom deserve recognition for a remarkable season for South African rugby.

“The 2023 season will be ingrained in out memories for decades to come, with the Springboks setting the tone and doing so much for nation building and social cohesion in South Africa.”

Another player to do the “double” was Canan Moodie who picked up the Young Player of the Year Award for the second year running, beating out the challenges of Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu, Jaden Hendrikse, Evan Roos and Ruan Venter.

Libbie Janse van Rensburg
Libbie Janse van Rensburg played for the Bok XV’s team and the Sevens team. Picture: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images

Kolbe also a winner

Women’s Springbok Libbie Janse van Rensburg cleaned up in the categories she was nominated in, taking home the prizes for Bok Women’s Player of the Year and Provincial Player of the Year.

Ricardo Duarttee was named Sevens Player of the Year in 2023 and Corne Beets Junior Springbok Player of the Year.

In a new category Cheslin Kolbe won the Fans’ Moment of the Year Award for his charge down of Thomas Ramos’ conversion in the World Cup quarter-final match.

Manie Libbok (Stormers, URC), Ruan Pienaar (Cheetahs, Currie Cup Premier) and Cameron Hufke (Boland, First Division) were also named best players in those three competitions.