Pieter-Steph wins SA Rugby Player of the Year

BY MARC JACOBSON - OCTOBER 26, 2016

Stormers and Springboks lock-forward, Pieter-Steph du Toit, has earned the biggest award in South African rugby by being named SA Rugby Player of the Year at an awards function in Johannesburg on Monday night.

The 24-year-old replaces Lood de Jager, who won the prestigious award last year. The other pool of nominees for the SA Rugby Player of the Year, who du Toit fought off to claim the award was: Eben Eztebeth, Ruan Combrinck, Jaco Kriel and Warren Whiteley.

The second-most prestigious award, Players’ Player of the Year, a collaboration of votes by the players themselves; was awarded to Sharks flanker, Jean-Luc du Preez. Du Preez was also one of the new faces included in the Springbok touring group for the November outgoing test tour to Europe next month.  

No fewer than eight of the winners for awards on the night were younger than the age of 25. With this in mind, Malcolm Marx won the Young Player of the Year award, while former Grey High pupil and Port Elizabeth-born, Curwyn Bosch, won the Junior Springbok Player of the Year award.

“To see so many young players step up and make their mark certainly bodes well for the future and I would like to congratulate all the winners, as well as those who were nominated,” said SA Rugby acting president Mark Alexander at the awards function.  

Meanwhile, four new test caps have been included in the Springbok outgoing test squad to Europe next month, which include the aforementioned Jean-Luc du Preez, Roelof Smit, former Grey High pupil and Kings winger, Sergeal Petersen and Francois Venter. The Springboks will play England (12th November), Italy (19th November) and Wales (25th November) on their outgoing tour.

Ruan Combrinck, Jannie du Plessis and JP Pietersen, who were not part of the Springboks fold in the recent Rugby Championship, have also joined the squad.

12 uncapped players have been named in the Springboks squad to face the Barbarians on November 5th, bearing in mind that this not count as an official test cap when a test side plays the Barbarians or a World XV side alike. These new capped players are: Lizo Gqoboka, Thomas du Toit, RG Snyman, Smit, Du Preez, Uzair Cassiem, Tian Schoeman, Francois Venter, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Petersen, Jamba Ulengo and Cheslin Kolbe.

All 2016 award winners:

SA Rugby Player of the Year: Pieter-Steph du Toit (Stormers, WP)

Players’ Player of the Year: Jean-Luc du Preez (Sharks)

Young Player of the Year: Malcolm Marx (Lions)

Team of the Year: Lions (Super Rugby)

Coach of the Year: Johan Ackermann (Lions)

Junior Springbok Player of the Year: Curwin Bosch (Sharks, Springboks U20)

SA Sevens Player of the Year: Seabelo Senatla (Blitzboks, WP, Stormers)

Super Rugby Player of Year: Elton Jantjies (Lions)

Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year: Ox Nche (Free State Cheetahs)

Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year: Masixole Banda (Border)

Springbok touring squad for tests against England, Italy and Wales:

Backs – Johan Goosen, Pat Lambie, Ruan Combrinck, Sergeal Petersen, Willie le Roux, Jesse Kriel, Lionel Mapoe, Francois Venter, Bryan Habana, JP Pietersen, Damian de Allende, Elton Jantjies, Faf de Klerk, Rudy Paige, Piet van Zyl.

Forwards  Warren Whiteley, Teboho Mohoje, Roelof Smit, Willem Alberts, Jaco Kriel, Jean-Luc du Preez, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Lood de Jager, Franco Mostert, Vincent Koch, Steven Kitshoff, Jannie du Plessis, Trevor Nyakane, Tendai Mtawarira, Adriaan Strauss (c), Bongi Mbonambi, Malcolm Marx.

Image: Pieter-Steph du Toit scoring a try for the Springboks against Ireland in the June Test Series