Lions dominate SA Rugby nominations

Date published: October 11 2016

Three Lions players and two Stormers have been nominated for South Africa's Player of the Year award.

Ruan Combrinck, Warren Whiteley and Jaco Kriel were part of a successful Super Rugby season with the Lions where they lost in the final to the Hurricanes.

Eben Etzebeth, who is set to join Saracens on a short-term deal in November, and Pieter-Steph du Toit of the Stormers, who reached the quarter-finals, complete the list.

The Lions have been nominated as Team of the Year and coach Johan Ackermann as coach of the year for the fourth year in a row.

Ackermann will face strong opposition from Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell, who has also been short-listed for the fourth year in a row, and Boland’s Brent Janse van Rensburg in the category for Coach of the Year.

The awards ceremony will take place on Monday, 24 October, at the Gallagher Estate in Johannesburg.

Marx and Janse van Rensburg are up against Curwin Bosch, RG Snyman and Seabelo Senatla in the category for Young Player of the Year, while the Super Rugby Player of the Tournament will be Combrinck, Whiteley or Jantjies.

Two emerging backline stars for the Springbok Sevens team and the Junior Springboks, Senatla and Bosch, raked in two nominations each. They are up against Kyle Brown and Rosko Specman (Springbok Sevens Player of the Year), and Manie Libbok and Jeremy Ward (Junior Springbok Player of the Year) respectively.

The six nominations in the two Currie Cup categories are testimony to the fact that new talent annually emerges through these competitions. In the Premier Division, Nico Lee and Ox Nche from the Toyota Free State Cheetahs are up against WP’s Huw Jones.

George Whitehead, who was a key figure in the Down Touch Griffons’ victory in the First Division Final last weekend, is up against Border’s Masixole Banda and Johan Deysel from the Leopards.

The list of nominees in the various categories were determined after an extensive voting process, which included members of the media, sponsors, the provinces and SA Rugby’s Rugby Department.

The nominees are (in alphabetical order):

SA Rugby Player of the Year:

Ruan Combrinck
Pieter-Steph du Toit
Eben Etzebeth
Jaco Kriel
Warren Whiteley

Young Player of the Year:

Curwin Bosch
Rohan Janse van Rensburg
Malcolm Marx
RG Snyman
Seabelo Senatla

Team of the Year:

Emirates Lions (Vodacom Super Rugby)
Springbok Sevens
Toyota Free State Cheetahs (Currie Cup Premier Division)

Coach of the Year:

Johann Ackermann (Golden Lions)
Brent Janse van Rensburg (Boland)
Neil Powell (Springbok Sevens)

Junior Springbok Player of the Year:

Curwin Bosch
Manie Libbok
Jeremy Ward

SA Sevens Player of the Year:

Kyle Brown
Seabelo Senatla
Rosko Specman

Vodacom Super Rugby Player of Year:

Ruan Combrinck (Lions)
Elton Jantjies (Lions)
Warren Whiteley (Lions)

Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year:

Huw Jones (Western Province)
Nico Lee (Free State Cheetahs)
Ox Nche (Free State Cheetahs)

Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year:

Masixole Banda (Border)
Johan Deysel (Leopards)
George Whitehead (Griffons)

Other awards that will be presented are in the categories of Players’ Player of the Year presented by MyPlayers, Supersport Try of the Year, Coca-Cola Craven Week Player of the Year, Outsurance Referee Award, Springbok Women’s Achiever Award and Best Development Programme. Please note, the Club Player of the Year will be awarded after the Gold Cup final.