Springboks: Eben Etzebeth finally named SA Rugby Player of the Year

Springbok great Eben Etzebeth has been named SA Rugby’s Player of the Year following a stellar season in 2022.

Etzebeth became the youngest Test centurion for the Springboks when he ran out against Wales last year and put together some fantastic performances throughout.

The second-row won the award after finishing runner-up to Siya Kolisi last year but ultimately pipped his captain, Lukhanyo Am, Kurt-Lee Arendse and Frans Malherbe to the 2022 award.

Deserved award winners

Meanwhile, Bulls sensation Canan Moodie was named Young Player of the Year after bursting onto the scene with a sensational debut try for South Africa against Australia in the Rugby Championship. The speedster beat a group of young talent to the award, including Sacha Feinburg-Mngomezulu, Jaden Hendrikse, Evan Roos and Henco van Wyk, who were all nominated for the award.

Nadine Roos was named Springboks Women’s Player of the Year after playing in both 15s and Sevens Rugby World Cups in 2022 – including a spot in the Dream Team for the RWC Sevens in Cape Town.

The talented star was named ahead of nominees Lusanda Dumke, Aseza Hele and Zintle Mpupha and Aphiwe Ngwevu, who all had fantastic seasons in green and gold.

The tireless JC Pretorius was named the Springboks Sevens Player of the Year ahead of Selvyn Davids and Zain Davids.

Meanwhile, rising star Feinburg-Mngomezulu was named Junior Springbok Player of the Year after an unbeaten run in the U20 Summer Series in Italy. Feinburg-Mngomezulu was named ahead of Suleiman Hartzenberg and Ruan Venter.

The Stormers locked up two awards on the back of their maiden international title as they claimed the inaugural United Rugby Championship title last season, earning them the Team of the Year award, while John Dobson walked away with the Coach of the Year ahead of Bok mentor Jacques Nienaber and Pumas coach Jimmy Stonehouse.

Aimee Barrett-Theron doubled up this year, winning the Referee of the Year for a second consecutive season.

A good year of rugby

SA Rugby president Mark Alexander was happy to congratulate the award winners after a fine year of rugby.

“Eben has been a Springbok stalwart for more than a decade, and it’s just amazing to see how he keeps getting better with age, playing with maturity and providing valuable leadership to the Springboks,” said Alexander.

“The Boks are building on depth and experience with an eye on the Rugby World Cup later this year, and I think they are in a good space under the coaching of Jacques Nienaber and the captaincy of Siya, but Eben’s role can’t be underestimated as he is not only the most experienced member of the squad, but he also sets the example for younger players and was widely regarded as one of the best players on the planet last year.

“Looking at the quality of young talent coming through, Canan was deservedly voted as the Young Player of the Year, but the other names of the list of nominees are all expected to still make a major mark on South African rugby, which bodes very well for the future.

“The winners in the other categories for our national teams, Nadine, JC and Sacha, all deserve these accolades after superb performances during the season. Starring in XVs and sevens takes some doing and Nadine never missed a beat; JC was a constant star for the Blitzboks; and Sacha is another one of the upcoming crop of future stars.

“I would also like to congratulate John and the DHL Stormers on their magnificent achievement in winning the Vodacom URC, as well as Sebastian, Jaywinn and Lusanda for leading the way in our very tough provincial competitions.

“The new year is already in full swing, but there is still a lot of rugby to be played and all eyes will be on France in September and October when the Boks defend the Webb Ellis Cup.

“I would like to congratulate every winner on their awards and wish them well for the next year, but I would also like to thank all the players, young and old, their coaches and team management, match officials, administrators, all our loyal sponsors and all other role players for making 2022 a season to remember.”

Award winners

SA Rugby Player of the Year: Eben Etzebeth
Finalists: Lukhanyo Am, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Siya Kolisi, Frans Malherbe

SA Rugby Young Player of the Year: Canan Moodie (Springboks / Vodacom Bulls)
Finalists: Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu (Junior Springboks / South Africa ‘A’ / DHL Stormers), Jaden Hendrikse (Springboks / Cell C Sharks), Evan Roos (Springboks / DHL Stormers), Henco van Wyk (South Africa ‘A’ / Emirates Lions)

Springbok Women’s Player of the Year: Nadine Roos
Finalists: Lusanda Dumke, Aseza Hele, Zintle Mpupha, Aphiwe Ngwevu

Springbok Sevens Player of the Year: JC Pretorius
Finalists: Selvyn Davids, Zain Davids

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Junior Springbok Player of the Year: Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu
Finalists: Suleiman Hartzenberg, Ruan Venter

Team of the Year: DHL Stormers
Finalists: Airlink Pumas, Springboks

Coach of the Year: John Dobson (DHL Stormers)
Finalists: Jacques Nienaber (Springboks), Jimmy Stonehouse (Airlink Pumas)

Carling Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year: Sebastian de Klerk (Airlink Pumas)
Finalists: Willie Engelbrecht (Airlink Pumas), Devon Williams (Airlink Pumas)

Carling Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year: Jaywinn Juries (Down Touch Griffons)
Finalists: Jaiden Baron (Boland Kavaliers), Duan Pretorius (Down Touch Griffons)

Provincial Women’s Player of the Year: Lusanda Dumke (Border Ladies)

OUTsurance Referee of the Year: Aimee Barrett-Theron

Vodacom United Rugby Championship Player of the Season (announced last year): Evan Roos (DHL Stormers)
Finalists: Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks), Marcell Coetzee (Vodacom Bulls), Warrick Gelant (DHL Stormers), Ruan Nortje (Vodacom Bulls), Vincent Tshituka (Emirates Lions)

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