Etzebeth favourite for Player of the Year
The rise of young Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth was confirmed on Wednesday when he was nominated in three categories for the prestigious South African Rugby Union (SARU) Rugby Player of the Year Awards, which take place in Cape Town on Thursday, November 1.
The nominations cap a dream year for Etzebeth, who celebrates his 21st birthday next week. He starred for the Stormers in Super Rugby before making his Springbok debut against England in Durban in June. On Saturday he will represent Western Province in the Currie Cup final.
Etzebeth has been nominated in the categories for SARU Rugby Player of the Year, Young Player of the Year and Super Rugby Player of the Year, following consistently outstanding performances for the Springboks, Stormers and Western Province in 2012.
Five players have been nominated in two categories – Keegan Daniel and JP Pietersen (both nominated for SARU Rugby Player and Super Rugby Player of the Year), Marcell Coetzee (Super Rugby and Young Player of the Year), as well as Elton Jantjies and Raymond Rhule (both nominated for Young Player and Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year).
The final two nominations in the category for SARU Rugby Player of the Year are Pat Lambie, who was voted Young Player of the Year in 2011, and veteran Springbok wing and two-time winner (2005 and 2007) Bryan Habana, who extended his try-scoring record in Tests to 47 this year after some great displays in the green and gold.
KwaZulu-Natal’s impressive season is reflected in nominations for Team of the Year, with both Sharks teams (Super Rugby and Absa Currie Cup) nominated. They are up against the Junior Springboks, who won the IRB Junior World Championship in South Africa earlier this year, the Stormers, who topped the log in Super Rugby, and the Currie Cup First Division champions, the EP Kings.
The Absa Coach of the Year will be one of Allister Coetzee (Stormers and Western Province), Pote Human (Griquas), John Plumtree (The Sharks), Alan Solomons (EP Kings) or Dawie Theron (SA Under-20).
For the first time the public were able to vote in the Awards, through a voting process on the Springboks’ Facebook page, alongside the country’s rugby media, who traditionally vote for the winners in some of the categories.
Following an extensive voting process amongst various stakeholders, the winners in a number of other categories have already been determined – Coca-Cola Craven Week Player of the Tournament, Marriott Referee Award, Women’s Achiever of the Year, SARU National Club Championship Player of the Tournament, SA Under-20 Player of the Year and Springbok Sevens Player of the Year.
The nominees for 2012 are (in alphabetical order):
SARU Rugby Player of the Year:
1. Keegan Daniel
2. Eben Etzebeth
3. Bryan Habana
4. Pat Lambie
5. JP Pietersen
Young Player of the Year:
1. Marcell Coetzee
2. Eben Etzebeth
3. Johan Goosen
4. Elton Jantjies
5. Raymond Rhule
Team of the Year:
1. Eastern Province Kings (Currie Cup First Division)
2. The Sharks (Super Rugby)
3. The Sharks (Currie Cup)
4. South Africa Under-20 (IRB Junior World Championship)
5. Stormers (Super Rugby)
Coach of the Year:
1. Allister Coetzee (Stormers and Western Province)
2. Pote Human (Griquas)
3. John Plumtree (The Sharks)
4. Alan Solomons (EP Kings)
5. Dawie Theron (SA Under-20)
Super Rugby Player of the Year:
1. Marcell Coetzee (The Sharks)
2. Keegan Daniel (The Sharks)
3. Bismarck du Plessis (The Sharks)
4. Eben Etzebeth (Stormers)
5. JP Pietersen (The Sharks)
Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year:
1. Deon Fourie (Western Province)
2. JC Janse van Rensburg (Golden Lions)
3. Elton Jantjies (Golden Lions)
4. Louis Ludik (The Sharks)
5. Raymond Rhule ( Free State Cheetahs)
Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year:
1. Hansie Graaff (Griffons)
2. JW Jonker (Ford Pumas)
3. Rudi Mathee (Ford Pumas)
4. Paul Perez (EP Kings)
5. Luke Watson (EP Kings)
Vodacom Cup Player of the Year:
1. Marcel Brache (Western Province)
2. Demetri Catrakilis (Western Province)
3. Jaco Kriel ( Golden Lions)
4. Gouws Prinsloo (Sharks XV)
5. Jan Serfontein (Blue Bulls)