Springbok heroes dominate SA Rugby Awards nominations

Springbok heroes dominate SA Rugby Awards nominations

Five members of the Springboks' Rugby World Cup-winning squad have been nominated for the coveted SA Rugby Men’s Player of the Year Award for 2023.

SA Rugby on Tuesday announced the nominees – as voted for by members of the media and key stakeholders within the governing body – in nine categories. 

The winners will be named at the awards ceremony early next year, along with the annual OUTsurance Referee of the Year and the Provincial Women’s Player of the Year.

Reigning Men's Rugby Player of the Year Eben Etzebeth will face stern competition from 2021 winner Siya Kolisi, 2019 winner Pieter-Steph Du Toit, Frans Malherbe, and Damian Willemse.

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Nadine Roos will also hope to retain her title as Springbok Women’s Player of the Year, but faces formidable competition from former winners Aseza Hele and Babalwa Latsha, as well as Libbie Janse van Rensburg and Rights Mkhari.

Four of the five nominees for the Young Player of the Year Award were also on the shortlist last year, when Canan Moodie beat off challengers Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu, Jaden Hendrikse and Evan Roos, while Ruan Venter has also been nominated this year.

Ricardo Duarttee, who bagged the Rookie of the Year award at the annual HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series Awards, is up against Christie Grobbelaar and Shilton van Wyk for the Springbok Sevens Men’s Player of the Year award.

And the three nominees for the Junior Springbok Player of the Year award are team captain Paul de Villiers, who led the SA U20s to a bronze medal at the World Rugby U20 Championship, as well as Corne Beets and Damian Markus.

In the categories for Coach and Team of the Year are straight shootouts between Jacques Nienaber and the Springboks, John Dobson and the DHL Stormers, and Hawies Fourie and the Toyota Cheetahs.

"We had a wonderful year culminating in the Rugby World Cup victory, and I would like to congratulate all the nominees, not only for their performances during the year but also for their contribution to the local rugby landscape,” said Mr Mark Alexander, President of SA Rugby.

"All the names on the list of nominees can look back at the year and be proud of their performances. Rugby is a team game, and I’m sure all of them will agree that nothing is possible without the player next to you, but they stood out and deserve these nominations.

"All of our national teams were in action this year, with varying degrees of success, but every single player put their country first whenever and wherever they took to the field, and I would like to thank them for that.

"A special word of thanks and congratulations to Jacques, Siya and the Springboks though – you were great ambassadors for South Africa and, by defending the Webb Ellis Cup in France, you have ensured that the name of the Bok team of 2023 will forever be written in the annals of our game as one of the greatest."

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The nominees are (in alphabetical order):

SA Rugby Men’s Player of the Year

Pieter-Steph du Toit

Eben Etzebeth

Siya Kolisi

Frans Malherbe

Damian Willemse

Springbok Women’s Player of the Year

Aseza Hele

Libbie Janse van Rensburg

Babalwa Latsha

Rights Mkhari

Nadine Roos

SA Rugby Young Player of the Year

Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu (DHL Stormers)

Jaden Hendrikse (Springboks / Hollywoodbets Sharks)

Canan Moodie (Springboks / Vodacom Bulls)

Evan Roos (Springboks / DHL Stormers)

Ruan Venter (Emirates Lions)

Springbok Sevens Men’s Player of the Year

Ricardo Duarttee

Christie Grobbelaar

Shilton van Wyk 

Junior Springbok Player of the Year

Corne Beets

Paul de Villiers

Damian Markus

Team of the Year

Toyota Cheetahs (Currie Cup)


DHL Stormers (Vodacom URC)

Coach of the Year

John Dobson (DHL Stormers)

Hawies Fourie (Toyota Cheetahs)

Jacques Nienaber (Springboks)

Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year

Tinus de Beer (Airlink Pumas)

Ruan Pienaar (Toyota Cheetahs)

Devon Williams (Airlink Pumas)

Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year

Keagan Fortune (Valke)

Darian Hock (Boland Kavaliers)

Cameron Hufke (Boland Kavaliers)