Duane Vermeulen and the Bulls make clean sweep at SA Rugby Awards
DURBAN - Rugged Springbok and Bulls No 8 Duane Vermeuelen is South Africa’s 2020 Player of the Year while the Bulls cleaned up in just about every other department to cap a fruitful season for the Pretoria team.
The 34-year-old Vermeulen, who led the Bulls to The Super Rugby Unlocked and Currie Cup titles, also won the Super Rugby/Unlocked Player of the Year Award for 2020 while the Bulls, predictably, were the Team of the Year and their Director of Rugby, Jake White, was named Coach of the Year.
Stedman Gans, who made a successful transition from the Blitzboks to star for the Bulls after the World Rugby Sevens Series was canceled, was named Springbok Sevens Player of the Year, for his role as the Blitzboks’ won two tournaments out of six to finish second overall on the standings.
🇿![CDATA]>🇦 Ladies and gentlemen, your SA Rugby Player of the Year for 2020 is the one and only Duane Vermeulen, for the second time during his stellar career! #SARugbyAwards pic.twitter.com/31N7KmknFO— Springboks (@Springboks) March 4, 2021
Wandisile Simelane, a former Junior Springbok star who got his first taste of senior rugby in green and gold in the successful Springbok Showdown, before going on to star for the Lions in the local competitions, was named Young Player of the Year.
Bulls centre Cornal Hendricks capped a brilliant season by walking away with the Currie Cup Player of the Year Award and Jaco Peyper was named the Referee of the Year.
SA Rugby president Mark Alexander congratulated the country’s players and management teams for making an incredibly difficult season happen.
“The pandemic has been disruptive to people from all walks of life and apart from the hard work done in training, first at home and later back at their team bases, it was heartening to see our players rolling up their sleeves and also helping fellow South Africans who are not as fortunate,” Alexander said. “We saw yet again that we are stronger, together.”
***The winners and finalists for 2020 are:
SA Rugby Player of the Year: Duane Vermeulen
Finalists: Curwin Bosch, Cornal Hendricks, Steven Kitshoff, Frans Steyn
SA Rugby Young Player of the Year: Wandisile Simelane
Finalists: Curwin Bosch, Stedman Gans, Ruan Nortje, Dylan Richardson
Springbok Sevens Player of the Year: Stedman Gans
Finalists: Angelo Davids, Selvyn Davids
Team of the Year: Bulls
Finalists: Sharks, Springbok Sevens
Coach of the Year: Jake White
Finalists: Sean Everitt, Neil Powell
Super Rugby and Unlocked Player of Year: Duane Vermeulen
Finalists: Frans Steyn, Marco van Staden
Currie Cup Player of the Year: Cornal Hendricks
Finalists: Marco van Staden, Duane Vermeulen
Referee of the Year: Jaco Peyper