Cape Town - Bryan Habana was named SA Rugby Player of the Year as four Western Province players were recognised for stand-out performances at the annual SA Rugby awards ceremony in Cape Town on Thursday night.
Habana won the highest accolade at the event, but had to share the spotlight with provincial teammates Eben Etzebeth, Deon Fourie and Demetri Catrakilis.
Explosive lock forward Etzebeth was crowned SA Rugby’s Young Player of the Year, while WP skipper Fourie took home the Currie Cup Player of the Year trophy, and Kings-bound flyhalf Catrakilis was named Vodacom Cup Player of the Year.
Habana received the most prestigious of the 16 awards that were handed out and inevitably left the ceremony with a second trophy after his score against the All Blacks in Dunedin was recognised as the Supersport Try of the Year.
The 29-year-old scored a total of 12 tries this year, including a decisive one in the Stormers’ 19-14 win against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld in June, and a hat-trick for South Africa at the same venue against the Wallabies in September.
The most-capped Bok wing (82 Tests) fortified his title as the all-time leading try-scorer by increasing his record haul to 47 Test scores, nine more than Joost van der Westhuizen.
Having previously won the award in 2005 and 2007, Habana joined Naas Botha as the only player to have done so on more than two occasions – the Bok flyhalf won it four times.
Not to be outdone by Province’s four award-winners, Sharks supporters may well declare a draw after their Currie Cup side was named Team of the Year, John Plumtree won Coach of the Year, captain Keegan Daniel was voted Super Rugby Player of the Year, and winger JP Pietersen scooped the SARPA Players’ Player of the Year Award.
SA rugby awards:
Player of the Year - Bryan Habana
Young Player of the Year - Eben Etzebeth
Team of the Year - Sharks (Currie Cup)
Coach of the Year - John Plumtree (Sharks)
Super Rugby Player of the Year - Keegan Daniel (Sharks)
Currie Cup Player of the Year - Deon Fourie (Western Province)
Vodacom Cup Player of the Year - Demetri Catrakilis (W Province)
Players’ Player of the Year - JP Pietersen (Sharks)
Try of the Year - Bryan Habana (SA v NZ)