Elizabeth, King of SA Rugby

todayMarch 15, 2024 70

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Even Etzebeth wins the SA Rugby Mens Player of the Year award during the 2023 SA Rugby Awards ceremony at Multichoice City in Johannesburg on 17 March 2024 © BackpagePix

Double Rugby World Cup-winning Springbok lock, Eben Etzebeth, became only the second player to win back-to-back SA Rugby’s Player of the Year Award when he was recognised for a stellar season at the SA Rugby Awards 2023.

The glittering ceremony was held at Multichoice City in Johannesburg last evening.

The 32-year-old Etzebeth, who made his Test debut in 2012 and was nominated for World Player of the Year last year, won the main gong in South Africa for a second successive time after consistently high levels of performances in the green and gold as the Springboks lifted the Webb Ellis Cup for a second time in a row in France last October.

 Springbok wing, Canan Moodie, also did the double by again walking away with the Young Player of the Year Award, while Libbie Janse van Rensburg cleaned up in the women’s categories. She was named Springbok Women and Provincial Player of the Year for 2023.

The other finalists were Pieter-Steph du Toit, the first player to win back-to-back awards in 2018 and 2019, as well as Springbok captain Siya Kolisi, Frans Malherbe and Damian Willemse.

 Janse van Rensburg – the highest international points’ scorer in the history of South African rugby – featured for the Springbok Women in both 15s and sevens last year, and spearheaded the Bulls Daisies’ challenge to win the Women’s Premier Division.

 The other nominees were former winners Nadine Roos (2022), Aseza Hele (2019), and Babalwa Latsha (2017), as well as Rights Mkhari, herself an international in 15s and sevens rugby.

Moodie was voted as the Young Player of the Year for a second successive season after another year of stand-out performances for the Springboks and the Bulls, beating challenges from his fellow Boks in Jaden Hendrikse and Evan Roos, as well as Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu and Ruan Venter.

Following their triumph in France, Jacques Nienaber and the Springboks won the awards for Coach and Team of the Year, while Ricardo Duartee was named Springbok Men’s Sevens Player of the Year, and Corne Beets the Junior Springbok Player of the Year.

In a new category, voted for by supporters on social media, Cheslin Kolbe won the Fans’ Moment of the Year award for his charge-down of a Thomas Ramos conversion in the Rugby World Cup quarter-final, a match the Boks won by 29-28 against the hosts in Paris.

Manie Libbok (Stormers – URC Fans’ Player of the Season), Ruan Pienaar (Cheetahs – Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year) and Cameron Hufke (Boland Kavaliers – Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year) also walked away with awards on the night for their performances at franchise and provincial level.

Written by: Ntsako Mukhari

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