Planet Rugby

The 2009 Planet Rugby Awards

31st December 2009 10:37


Awards 2009

The best of both worlds: Brian O'Driscoll and Fourie du Preez

It's that time again when we reward all those in rugby kind enough to have provided entertainment in 2009, wittingly or not!

There was no formal dinner party or other notable ceremony of note for these gongs, but that should not take away the importance of who was carving - or not - their moment in the virtual spotlight.

So arise, rugby characters of 2009 and come and collect the bouquets. And the brickbats...

Try of the year: Cedric Heymans for his solo effort against New Zealand in the second Test in Wellington. It took great skill, great pace and a few great steps to pull it off. But most of all it took real stones to take on the All Blacks defence - alone - and emerge on the other side of the whitewash.

Team of the Year: The Bulls. Home the core of the Springbok team, Loftus Versfeld now also houses the Super 14 and Currie Cup trophies. Frans Ludeke and his blue armada were near-unstoppable.

Players of the year: Once again war raged in Planet Rugby offices all over the globe as two clear factions were formed - those form the South supporting Fourie du Preez, and those from the North backing Brian O'Driscoll. We tried debating. We tried bribing. We tried threats of grievous bodily harm, but no one would budge. So, we have no choice but to split the award this year:

Northern Hemisphere Player of the Year: Heineken Cup, Six Nations and Grand Slam champion and Ireland's hero, Brian O'Driscoll.

Southern Hemisphere Player of the Year: A key element in the Super 14, Currie Cup, Tri-Nations and Lions Series victories for the Bulls and Springboks, Fourie du Preez is set to become one a the greatest scrum-halves of all time.

Newbie of the year: South Africa unearthed a new breed of openside in 2009. With his squat frame and powerful midsection, Heinrich Bruss÷w was a thorn in the side of all he faced and brought back the argument that teams still require 'a fetcher'. The 23-year-old was superb at the breakdown in Cheetahs and Springbok colours and we look forward to more battles with David Pocock and Richie McCaw.

Coach of the year: There were a number of contenders here and Lienster's Michael Cheika deserves a mention. However, South Africa's success in the World Sevens Series was in no small part thanks to the ultra-professional approach of their boss, Paul Treu. Under Treu's guidance the Sevens Boks have set a new benchmark for professionalism.

Press-friendly coach of the year: While Peter de Villiers sometimes struggles to hide his contempt for some members of the press, and Graham Henry has perfected his grumpy headmaster routine, Robbie Deans is always friendly, approachable, polite and can always to counted on to tell it how it is.

The 'Geriatrix After Magic Potion' Award for exceptional athleticism at an advanced age: Simon Shaw for his British & Irish Lions Test debut three months short of his 36th birthday

The Animal of 2009: A Bull - after the men from Pretoria stampeded to a double in the shape of Super 14 and Currie Cup silverware

The Chokers of 2009: Australia for blowing several leads against the All Blacks after half-time as well as letting Ireland off the hook and then Scotland. But not Wales.

Underachievers of the Decade: The 2000s have been a bad one for Gloucester and they have topped it all off with just one away victory in 2009. Roll on the 10s!

The 'Customs and Excise' Award for a successful import: Tendai Mtawarira has made quite a name for himself since moving from Zimbabwe to South Africa with his name now chanted in all corners of the globe - despite the very best efforts of the SA Government to prevent him from being a crucial part of their national team.

The 'Kick a Man When He's Down' Award: Poor old Ronan O'Gara had just been trampled over by Pierre Spies, was then bounced off by Jaque Fourie while his head was still spinning and finally was asked to field a high ball in the final minute of a pivotal Test with the world on tenterhooks. The rest is now a painful chapter in the history of the Lions.

The 'Happy Heckler' Award for unnerving wind-ups: "You've got beautiful blue eyes" - Bakkies Botha casts doubt in the mind of Mike Phillips.

The 'Wyatt Earp Special' Movember Award of 2009: In a tight finish Bryan Habana beats off Australian duo Richard Graham and a strange one from Adam Ashley-Cooper to lift our horseshoe-shaped trophy.

The 'Plastic Surgeon's Dream' Award for raising eyebrows almost permanently: The IRB's decision to overlook a Heineken Cup and Grand Slam-winning Brian O'Driscoll and Super 14, Currie Cup, Lions Series and Tri-Nations-winning Fourie du Preez for IRB Player of the Year. No offence Richie but... come on!

The 'George Dubya Bush' Award for a nonsensical quote: "Rugby is a contact sport and so is dancing. If that's the case, why don't we go to the nearest ballet shop, get some nice tutus and get some great dancing going on? No eye-gouging, no tackling, no nothing. Then enjoy! There are no collisions in ballet, but in this game there will be collisions" - Guess who?

The 'Big Hug' Award in grateful thanks from the rugby world: International Olympic Committee for putting Rugby Sevens in the Olympics from 2016.

The 'NBC Drama Special' Award for overly-dramatic storylines: Joint winners are Bath and Harlequins for the goings on down Argyle Street and Langhorn Drive. We hear there may be a spin-off in Australia with some very tall bloke. Close behind was the exchange of kicks in the final minutes of Ireland's Grand Slam win.

Special Award from the German Fire Service for a highly-efficient and organised evacuation and exit from a completely harmless situation: London Wasps at Sale. Nobody got hurt, everybody got pizza and it cost the general public quite a lot of money.

The 'That's the Last Time I Send You A Christmas Card' Award for a silly pass: Jean de Villiers adding to Frans Steyn's quick line-out blunder against New Zealand

The 'One I'll Always Watch When The Missus Is Out' Award: The Chiefs' 63-34 beating of the Blues in the Super 14. Fourteen, yes fourteen tries in all at Waikato Stadium.

The 'Michael Jackson' Award for dancing feet: Lelia Masaga for this Waikato shuffle that is worth replaying over and over again

The 'Phoenix' Award for a remarkable last gasp recovery: Cardiff Blues coming from 12-26 down in the 74th minute against Leicester in the Heineken Cup to draw level by the 76th. Then came the pantomime of penalties!

The 'Dire Straits Money for Nothing' Award: Dan Carter, who was paid EUR 700,000 for sitting in the stands and smiling/shouting a lot as his paymasters Perpignan rolled to the 2009 Top 14 title.

The 'Fish out of Water' Award for under-achievement outside of local competition: Perpignan. Masters of France, serfs of Europe.

The 'General Ripper' Award for conspiracy theory: Stade Franšais' defence of David Attoub's citing for eye-gouging hinged on a complaint that the film and pictures of the moment had been photo-shopped. What?

The 'Frank the Tank' Award for old school behaviour: Jamie Heaslip. Post-match drinks are all about isotonics and rehydrations and things... not Heaslip. He pitched up for post-match press conferences on the Lions tour clutching a big can of beer each time.

The 'Vive La Resistance' Award for doing his own thing despite all manner of interference: Wellington coach Jamie Joseph, who refused to play All Blacks in the Air New Zealand Cup as his settled pre-All Blacks team was doing just fine, thanks.

The 'Pebble-glass Myopia' Award for not being able to see beyond one's own nose: The NZRU's continued attempts to cut off a nearly a third of New Zealand's population from top-level rugby by trimming the Air New Zealand Cup down to ten teams. But they did see the light in the end.

The 'Homer Simpson Pie-eater' Award for weight gain: Ricky Janaurie for his 'pregnant scrum-half' impersonation. If you are going to sit on the bench so much, why eat so much pie?

Forthcoming Fixtures
All times are local
Top 14
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne vs Montpellier20:45
Saturday , August 30
La Rochelle vs Toulouse14:45
Lyon vs Brive18:30
Oyonnax vs Stade Francais18:30
Castres vs Bay Of Plenty18:30
Grenoble vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulon20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , August 29
Pumas vs Sharks19:10
Saturday , August 30
Griquas vs Cheetahs15:00
Blue Bulls vs Western Province17:05
Eastern Province Kings vs Lions19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury vs NorthlandCanterbury vs Northland Preview
Friday , August 29
Wellington vs ManawatuWellington vs Manawatu Preview
Saturday , August 30
Counties Manukau vs Hawkes Bay14:35
Southland vs Otago17:35
North Harbour vs Waikato19:35
Sunday , August 31
Taranaki vs Bay Of Plenty14:35
Auckland vs Tasman16:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
All times are local
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato 17 - 46 TaranakiWaikato vs Taranaki Report
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu 7 - 35 AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Report
Bay Of Plenty 27 - 56 TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand 51 - 20 AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Report
Argentina 31 - 33 South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Brive 6 - 21 Clermont AuvergneBrive vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Stade Francais 23 - 20 Lyon
Bordeaux-Begles 30 - 21 Racing Metro Paris
Montpellier 20 - 17 GrenobleMontpellier vs Grenoble Report
Toulon 60 - 19 La Rochelle
Bayonne 38 - 12 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Blue Bulls 30 - 25 Eastern Province KingsBlue Bulls vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Sharks 19 - 16 CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Report
Western Province 27 - 14 LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
Northland 35 - 5 WellingtonNorthland vs Wellington Report
Counties Manukau 29 - 25 OtagoCounties Manukau vs Otago Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 22
Toulouse 35 - 6 CastresToulouse vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Pumas 33 - 15 GriquasPumas vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
Waikato 27 - 58 CanterburyWaikato vs Canterbury Report
Hawkes Bay 29 - 26 TaranakiHawkes Bay vs Taranaki Report
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour 21 - 25 Southland
Sunday , August 17
Tasman 35 - 15 Hawkes BayTasman vs Hawkes Bay Report
Northland 23 - 28 Manawatu
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 16
Australia 12 - 12 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
South Africa 13 - 6 ArgentinaSouth Africa vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
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