Etzebeth in line for three top awards
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 DHL Stormers in Vodacom Super Rugby before making his Springbok debut against England in Durban in June. On Saturday he will represent DHL Western Province in the Absa Currie Cup final.
Etzebeth has been nominated in the categories for Saru Rugby Player of the Year, Young Player of the Year and Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Year, following consistently outstanding performances for the Springboks, DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province in 2012.
Five players have been nominated in two categories -- Keegan Daniel and JP Pietersen (both nominated for Saru Rugby Player and Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Year), Marcell Coetzee (Vodacom Super Rugby and Young Player of the Year), as well as Elton Jantjies and Raymond Rhule (both nominated for Young Player and Absa 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 Absa Team of the Year, with both Sharks teams (Vodacom 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 DHL Stormers, who topped the log in Vodacom Super Rugby, and the Absa Currie Cup First Division champions, the EP Kings.
The Absa Coach of the Year will be one of Allister Coetzee (DHL Stormers and Western Province), Pote Human (GWK 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
Absa Team of the Year:
1. Eastern Province Kings (Absa Currie Cup First Division)
2. The Sharks (Vodacom Super Rugby)
3. The Sharks (Absa Currie Cup)
4. South Africa Under-20 (IRB Junior World Championship)
5. DHL Stormers (Vodacom Super Rugby)
Absa Coach of the Year:
1. Allister Coetzee (DHL Stormers and Western Province)
2. Pote Human (GWK Griquas)
3. John Plumtree (The Sharks)
4. Alan Solomons (EP Kings)
5. Dawie Theron (SA Under-20)
Vodacom 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 (DHL Stormers)
5. JP Pietersen (The Sharks)
Absa Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year:
1. Deon Fourie (DHL Western Province)
2. JC Janse van Rensburg (MTN Golden Lions)
3. Elton Jantjies (MTN Golden Lions)
4. Louis Ludik (The Sharks)
5. Raymond Rhule (Toyota Free State Cheetahs)
Absa 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 (DHL Western Province)
2. Demetri Catrakilis (DHL Western Province)
3. Jaco Kriel (MTN Golden Lions)
4. Gouws Prinsloo (Sharks XV)
5. Jan Serfontein (Vodacom Blue Bulls)