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Rugby | Varsity Cup

Wesley Dunlop © Gallo Images

2012 Player that Rocks nominees announced



The Player that Rocks nominations are in for the 2012 Varsity Cup season, with four players from the table-topping FNB UP-Tuks team nominated among the tournament's best nine players.

Aside from the opportunity to join former Player that Rocks winners Sarel Potgieter (2008), Donald Stevens (2009), Boom Prinsloo (2010) and Callie Visagie (2011), the winner in each category will receive a Hertz-sponsored car - for one year - along with FNB-sponsored cash prizes; R17 500 for the overall Player that Rocks and R6 000 (each) for the Forward and Back of the Tournament.

Lock Franco 'Sous' Mostert and No 8 Jono Ross - both from UP-Tuks - have been nominated in the Forward that Rocks category, along with inspirational FNB Madibaz captain Jaco Swanepoel, who was nominated in this category last year.

Mostert and Ross both helped their Tuks team into top spot on the log - their first-ever first-place log finish - while Swanepoel scored an incredible seven tries from the No 8 position as NMMU ended fifth on the log, their best-ever finish in the Varsity Cup.

Two more UP-Tuks players have been nominated in the Back that Rocks category, elusive fullback Clayton Blommetjies (three tries) and influential flyhalf Wesley Dunlop (56 points), with UJ points-machine Guy Cronjé (60 points) rounding off the three nominations in this category.

Ross, Swanepoel and Dunlop have all been nominated in the prestigious Player that Rocks Award (the Player of the Season) - Dunlop having featured in the Back that Rocks nominations last year too.

All eight Varsity Cup head coaches were asked to nominate their five outstanding players this season - not from their own teams, however - and those were then whittled down to three players in each category according to the most votes garnered at that stage.

Voting is now open for readers (on www.varsitycup.co.za and via the Rapport newspaper) to have their say about their No 1 player, with supporters - can vote for players in more than one category - having a 30% say in proceedings.

The Varsity Cup coaches' votes will count 30% towards the final tally, Varsity Cup referees will have a 10% say (as the Varsity Cup looks to involve the referees even more in this tournament), with the Varsity Cup Exco making up the final 30% of the voting tally.

The competition closes on the day of the 2012 Varsity Cup Final; Easter Monday, April 9 at 12pm, so get voting on the official Varsity Cup website and via Rapport (on an SMS line which is to be confirmed) for your 2012 Players that Rock!

THE NOMINATED PLAYERS AND THEIR CATEGORIES:

FORWARD THAT ROCKS: (Forward of the Tournament)

Franco 'Sous' Mostert (UP-Tuks, lock)
Jono Ross (UP-Tuks, No 8)
Jaco Swanepoel (NMMU, No 8)

BACK THAT ROCKS: (Back of the Tournament)

Clayton Blommetjies (UP-Tuks, fullback)
Guy Cronjé (UJ, flyhalf)
Wesley Dunlop (UP-Tuks, flyhalf)

PLAYER THAT ROCKS: (Player of the Tournament)

Wesley Dunlop (UP-Tuks, flyhalf)
Jono Ross (UP-Tuks, No 8)
Jaco Swanepoel (NMMU, No 8)

Meanwhile, all five Varsity Shield coaches will be nominating four players per position to come up with a shortlist in this competition for the various Player that Rocks Awards in the Shield competition.

Those nominations will be whittled down to three players per position, before all Varsity Shield club managers (25%), coaches (25%) and players (50%) will vote for their Forward that Rocks, Back that Rocks and overall Player that Rocks.

Last year's Player that Rocks was Fort Hare's Garth van Rayner, with Wits loosehead prop Katlego Kgame named as the Forward that Rocks and CUT's victorious captain Inus Kritzinger walking off with the Back that Rocks gong.

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