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
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester vs Exeter19:45
Saturday , September 20
Sale vs London Welsh14:00
London Irish vs Saracens15:00
Harlequins vs Wasps15:00
Bath vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs Northampton14:00
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Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 19
Munster vs Zebre19:30
Cardiff Blues vs Ulster19:35
Connacht vs Leinster19:35
Saturday , September 20
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow14:40
Scarlets vs Benetton Treviso18:00
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs Edinburgh16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 19
Brive vs ToulonBrive vs Toulon Preview
Saturday , September 20
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse18:00
La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Clermont Auvergne vs Lyon18:00
Castres vs Oyonnax18:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:00
Montpellier vs Stade Francais18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 19
Lions vs Pumas19:10
Saturday , September 20
Western Province vs Griquas15:00
Blue Bulls vs Sharks17:05
Eastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs19:10
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Thursday , September 18
Northland vs TaranakiNorthland vs Taranaki Preview
Friday , September 19
Counties Manukau vs CanterburyCounties Manukau vs Canterbury Preview
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
All times are local
Wednesday, September 17
Southland 14 - 38 TasmanSouthland vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 14
Wasps 20 - 16 NorthamptonWasps vs Northampton Report
Newcastle 18 - 20 London IrishNewcastle vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 GlasgowCardiff Blues vs Glasgow Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 27 - 21 MontpellierBordeaux-Begles vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
Waikato 26 - 21 Counties ManukauWaikato vs Counties Manukau Report
Hawkes Bay 41 - 0 Otago
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 13
Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale SharksGloucester vs Sale Sharks Report
Bath 53 - 26 London WelshBath vs London Welsh Report
Exeter 20 - 24 LeicesterExeter vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
New Zealand 14 - 10 South AfricaNew Zealand vs South Africa Report
Australia 32 - 25 ArgentinaAustralia vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 42 - 12 ScarletsLeinster vs Scarlets Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulouse 9 - 13 Clermont AuvergneToulouse vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bayonne 23 - 6 Brive
Oyonnax 40 - 27 Grenoble
Racing Metro Paris 28 - 11 LyonRacing Metro Paris vs Lyon Report
Toulon 24 - 28 Stade FrancaisToulon vs Stade Francais Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 31 - 27 PumasGriquas vs Pumas Report
Lions 35 - 33 Western ProvinceLions vs Western Province Report
Cheetahs 30 - 30 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
More Currie Cup results
Bay Of Plenty 12 - 27 AucklandBay Of Plenty vs Auckland Report
Southland 36 - 34 Northland
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 12
Harlequins 0 - 39 SaracensHarlequins vs Saracens Report
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Guinness PRO12
Benetton Treviso 10 - 21 MunsterBenetton Treviso vs Munster Report
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Aviva Premiership Table
3Leicester Tigers29