Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Compiled by Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Head of Sport

SA Rugby Player of the Year: All the nominees

Five Rugby World Cup winners are in the mix to win SA Rugby's biggest individual prize.

Who’s going to take home the title of SA Rugby Player of the Year for 2023?

That is now the big question following the announcement on Tuesday of the five nominees for one of this country’s most sought-after rugby awards.

Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Frans Malherbe and Damian Willemse are the five men in the running; all of them members of the Springboks’ World Cup-winning team.

The winners in nine different categories will be named early next year.

Etzebeth, who won the main award last year, will face stern competition from captain Kolisi and Du Toit, the winners of the Player of the Year Awards in 2021 and 2019 respectively, as well as Bok scrum anchor Malherbe and 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.

Women’s player and Young player

Nadine Roos will also defend her title as Springbok Women’s Player of the Year, against former winners Aseza Hele and Babalwa Latsha, as well as Libbie Janse van Rensburg and Rights Mkhari.

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.

Ricardo Duarttee, who was named Rookie of the Year 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 Rugby 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 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.

The nominees are (in alphabetical order):

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
Jaden Hendrikse
Canan Moodie
Evan Roos
Ruan Venter

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)

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