De Villiers SA rugby player of the year

26 November 2008

Springbok centre Jean de Villiers was named South Africa’s Rugby Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year at the sport’s annual awards banquet in Johannesburg on Tuesday evening.

The 27-year-old Western Province captain was the clear winner in a poll of South African rugby journalists for the SA Rugby Player of the Year title ahead of four players from the Sharks: Bismarck du Plessis, Adrian Jacobs, Ryan Kankowski and Beast Mtawarira.

De Villiers completed a memorable double as he was also awarded the prestigious Players’ Player of the Year Award, voted for by members of the South African Rugby Players’ Association (SARPA); he is the first man to complete the double since Ashwin Willemse in the 2003 season.

Kankowski recognised

Eighthman Ryan Kankowski’s outstanding year was recognised with four nominations, although he had to settle for just one award as the Vodacom Super 14 Player of the Year. He was also nominated for Sasol Young Player of the Year and the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year, as well as for the main award.

His back-row colleague Jean Deysel also had his devastating form in the Sharks’ run to the title recognised when he was named Absa Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year.

And completing the Sharks’ joy were awards in two of the three new categories introduced this year. John Plumtree was chosen as Absa Coach of the Year after helping the Sharks end their 12-year wait for a title with victory in the Absa Currie Cup final, while the Sharks’ Super 14 side was named the Vodacom Team of the Year after returning to the play-offs for a second successive year.

Big winner

Another big winner on the night was Vodacom Free State Cheetahs’ centre Robert Ebersohn, who was named Sasol Young Player of the Year from a strong field, as well as the Sasol Under-20 Player of the Year.

Kennedy Tsimba was named as Absa Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year, six years after he was named as the Premier Division Player of the Year, following his return to fitness in the Griffons’ impressive surge to the First Division title.

Flyhalf Burton Francis of the Vodacom Blue Bulls was chosen as the Vodacom Cup Player of the Year, while Ricky Januarie’s score against the All Blacks in Dunedin was named as SuperSport Try of the Year.

In women’s rugby, Lorinda Brown of Eastern Province capped a fine year in which she played for the national sevens and 15-a-side teams and was part of an inter-provincial title-winning side by being named as Women’s Player of the Year.

SA RUGBY AWARD WINNERS

SA Rugby Player of the Year
Winner: Jean de Villiers (Western Province)
Also nominated: Bismarck du Plessis, Adrian Jacobs, Ryan Kankowski, Beast Mtawarira (all Sharks)

Sasol Young Player of the Year
(The outstanding young rugby player of 23 years or younger of the 2008 South African season- born in 1985 or later)
Winner: Robert Ebersohn (Free State Cheetahs)
Also nominated: Heinrich Brussow (Free State Cheetahs), Ryan Kankowski, (Sharks), Nick Koster (Western Province), Beast Mtawarira (Sharks)

Players’ Player of the Year
Winner: Jean de Villiers (Western Province)

Vodacom Team of the Year
(The outstanding South African team or province of the 2008 season. This may be awarded for performances in a single tournament or for a province/franchises performances across a range of competitions)
Winner: Sharks (Vodacom Super 14 team)
Also nominated: Platinum Leopards, Sharks (Absa Currie Cup team), Vodacom Blue Bulls, Vodacom Stormers

Absa Coach of the Year
(The outstanding coach of the 2008 South African season)
Winner: John Plumtree (Sharks, Absa Currie Cup)
Also nominated: Eugene Eloff (Golden Lions), Rassie Erasmus (Stormers), Frans Ludeke (Blue Bulls). Chaka Willemse (Platinum Leopards)

Vodacom Super 14 Player of the Year
(The outstanding player of the 2008 Vodacom Super 14 season)
Winner: Ryan Kankowski (Sharks)
Also nominated: Andries Bekker, Jean de Villiers, Conrad Jantjes (all Stormers), Rory Kockott (Sharks)

Absa Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year
(The outstanding player of the 2008 Absa Currie Cup Premier Division season)
Winner: Jean Deysel (Sharks)
Also nominated: Heinrich Brussow (Free State Cheetahs), Ryan Kankowski (Sharks), Wynand Olivier (Blue Bulls), Stefan Terblanche (Sharks)

Absa Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year
(The outstanding player of the 2008 Absa Currie Cup First Division season)
Winner: Kennedy Tsimba (Griffons)
Also nominated: Cecil Afrika, (Griffons), Clayton Durand (Platinum Leopards), Ashley Johnson (Griffons), Vuyo Zangqa (Platinum Leopards)

Vodacom Cup Player of the Year
(The outstanding player of the 2008 Vodacom Cup season)
Winner: Burton Francis (Blue Bulls)
Also nominated: Isma-eel Dollie (Western Province), Rocco Jansen (Blue Bulls), Ashley Johnson, Wilton Pietersen (both Free State Cheetahs)

SuperSport Try of the Year
Winner: Ricky Januarie (SA v New Zealand, Dunedin)

Sasol Sevens Player of the Year
Renfred Deysel

Sasol SA under-20 Player of the Year
Robert Ebersohn (Free State Cheetahs)

Women’s Player of the Year
Lorinda Brown (Eastern Province)

SAA National Club Champs Player of the Tournament
Lola Waka (Pukke)

Marriott Refereeing Achievement of the Year
Mark Lawrence

Coca-Cola Craven Week Player of the Tournament
Sampie Mastriet (Boland)

Source: SA Rugby