2 November 2006
Springbok scrumhalf Fourie du Preez is the 2006 Absa SA Rugby Player of the Year. He picked up the honour at the annual Absa SA Rugby Awards banquet in Sandton on Wednesday night.
The other nominees for the prestigious award were fellow Springboks Victor Matfield, Os du Randt and Pierre Spies, as well as Western Province captain Luke Watson.
Previous winners of the accolade include Springboks Andre Vos, Andre Venter, Breyton Paulse, Joe van Niekerk, Ashwin Willemse, Schalk Burger and Bryan Habana.
The Absa SA Rugby Player of the Year award is the most coveted in the South African game, and it is presented to the player who has performed consistently well at the highest levels of the game throughout the season.
Players’ Player of the Year
The 2006 Players’ Player of the Year award, which is chosen by the country’s professional players, was awarded to popular Free State Cheetahs flanker Kabamba Floors. Previous winners in the category include 1995 World Cup winner Du Randt (2004) and current Springbok captain John Smit (2005).
SA Sevens star Floors also received the Absa Currie Cup Player of the Year Award for his outstanding performances in the Cheetahs’ jersey.
Watson was awarded the Vodacom Super 14 Player of the Year prize, while another Blue Bull, Stefan Basson, is the Sasol SA Sevens Player for 2006.
South African Rugby Union President Oregan Hoskins, who attended the glittering event with a host of rugby and media personalities as well as corporate sponsors, congratulated the award winners on their achievements.
Exceptionally high Currie Cup standard
In referring to yet another successful domestic rugby season, he praised the players, administrators, match officials and the many volunteers for their contribution towards the exceptionally high standard of rugby produced during the 2006 Absa Currie Cup competition.
“This year’s competition produced outstanding rugby and a huge amount of excitement for the fans. SARU is especially pleased with the high quality performances delivered by the group of emerging talent.
“Judging by their performances and in view of the strategic absence of the contracted group of Springboks from the competition, I am pleased to say that South African rugby is in a very healthy state,” Hoskins said.
Most promising player
Springbok newcomer Spies, also a member of the SA under-21 team to the IRB World Championships earlier this year in France, was crowned the Sasol Most Promising Player of the Year.
Like Floors, Keegan Daniel walked off with two awards. He was voted as the Vodacom Cup Player of the Year, as well as the Sasol SA u-21 Player of the Year.
Gio Aplon’s sublime effort in the Absa Currie Cup match for Western Province against the Blue Bulls at Newlands was judged as the Supersport Try of the Year.
Nominees in the six main award categories were determined by votes from the country’s rugby media. The independent panel of judges comprised leading South African rugby journalists, broadcasters and radio commentators.
Leading SA referee Jonathan Kaplan added the Marriott Referee of the Year title to his impressive list of top match official awards.
Mandisa Williams of Border, a member of the national women’s team that competed in the country’s first IRB Women’s World Cup Tournament in Canada earlier in the year, was decorated with the British Airways Women’s Rugby Achiever of the Year prize.
- SA Rugby Player of the Year: Fourie du Preez
- Player’s Player of the Year: Kabamba Floors
- SA Sevens Player of the Year: Stefan Basson
- Most Promising Player of the Year: Pierre Spies
- Rugby Super 14 Player of the Year: Luke Watson
- Currie Cup Player of the Year: Kabamba Floors
- Cup Player of the Year: Keegan Daniel
- SA u-21 Player of the Year: Keegan Daniel
- SA u-19 Player of the Year: Francois Steyn
- Try of the Year: Gio Aplon
- Referee of the Year: Jonathan Kaplan
- Women’s Rugby Player of the Year: Mandisa Williams