Planet Rugby

Player of the Year nominee: Etzebeth

28th November 2013 11:30

Share:

Eben Etzebeth

Eben Etzebeth: World's best player?

We asked five Planet Rugby scribes to name their 2013 Player of the Year...and got five different answers. David Skippers argues the case for Eben Etzebeth.

Eben Etzebeth's nomination for the IRB World Player of the Year Award is a just reward for his fine contribution to the Springbok cause in 2013.

As the youngest of the five nominees, many enthusiasts will argue that it's still too early for the Stormers stalwart to win this prestigious award. I beg to differ, however, and believe he deserves to win it now, as the 22-year-old has consistently delivered top class performances for South Africa in 2013 while playing with a maturity beyond his years.

Etzebeth deserves credit for carrying on where he left off in 2012 after making his Test debut as a 20-year-old against England in Durban last year. Unlike so many other players, who impress when they burst onto the scene, he has not suffered from "second season syndrome" and kicked on to establish himself as the world's premier second-row.

During the Boks' 2013 campaign he has shone in the role as the two-time world champions' enforcer and his intimidating presence at the coalface of their forward effort surely makes him one of the first names on coach Heyneke Meyer's teamsheet.

Just think about it. How many times can you remember Etzebeth playing poorly for his country? Well, I can't think of a single Test where he has been totally dominated by a direct opponent.

South Africa pride themselves on doing well in the forward exchanges and he has certainly thrived in this area and never takes a backward step to anyone. Etzebeth is a fearsome ball-carrier, throws himself into tackles, cleans out rucks with great ferocity and is a major force at the line-outs.

These attributes lay the foundation for his loose forwards and backs to play off and although it's a combined effort, alongside his fellow tight forwards, it would be great if the IRB could acknowledge the guys who do the hard graft which allows their more flashier team-mates to shine.

Former Ireland captain and hooker Keith Wood was the first man to win the World Player of the Year Award - when it was introduced in 2001 - but that was also the last time that a tight forward has been rewarded with the game's top individual prize.

I think it's time for the IRB to honour the game's "donkeys" again by giving the award to Etzebeth this year.

By David Skippers
@David_Skipster

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins vs Leicester19:45
Saturday , April 19
Exeter vs Sale15:00
Bath vs Worcester15:00
Wasps vs Gloucester15:15
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London Irish14:00
Newcastle vs Saracens15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Friday , April 18
Leinster vs Benetton Treviso17:00
Glasgow vs Ulster19:35
Saturday , April 19
Zebre vs Edinburgh14:30
Connacht vs Munster18:15
Sunday , April 20
Cardiff Blues vs Scarlets14:00
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Ospreys16:45
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , April 18
Castres vs Montpellier20:45
Saturday , April 19
Oyonnax vs Toulouse14:55
Perpignan vs Toulon17:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Biarritz vs Brive18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne18:30
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles20:35
More Top 14 fixtures
Super Rugby
Friday , April 18
Hurricanes vs BluesHurricanes vs Blues Preview
Melbourne Rebels vs Western Force19:40
Saturday , April 19
Chiefs vs Crusaders19:35
Waratahs vs Bulls19:00
Sharks vs Cheetahs15:00
Stormers vs Lions17:05
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Irish 40 - 12 NewcastleLondon Irish vs Newcastle Report
Saturday , April 12
Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
Leicester 27 - 15 WaspsLeicester vs Wasps Report
Gloucester 17 - 18 BathGloucester vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Benetton Treviso 45 - 27 Newport Gwent D'gonsBenetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D
Scarlets 27 - 20 ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Report
Munster 5 - 22 GlasgowMunster vs Glasgow Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 20 - 22 ToulonBordeaux-Begles vs Toulon Report
Toulouse 16 - 9 BriveToulouse vs Brive Report
Grenoble 30 - 36 Montpellier
Perpignan 22 - 12 Oyonnax
Bayonne 24 - 19 Stade Francais
Racing Metro Paris 37 - 7 Biarritz
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 22 - 16 Melbourne RebelsChiefs vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Western Force 28 - 16 WaratahsWestern Force vs Waratahs Report
Lions 12 - 25 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Cheetahs 31 - 52 CrusadersCheetahs vs Crusaders Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 11
Sale Sharks 12 - 27 HarlequinsSale Sharks vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Ulster 58 - 12 ConnachtUlster vs Connacht Report
Edinburgh 22 - 29 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
Ospreys 25 - 19 LeinsterOspreys vs Leinster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 23 - 11 CastresClermont Auvergne vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Highlanders 27 - 20 BullsHighlanders vs Bulls Report
Reds 20 - 23 BrumbiesReds vs Brumbies Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers1963
4Bath1959
5Harlequins1954