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Top Bulls awards for Marcell Coetzee, Ruan Nortje after stellar URC seasons

Marcell Coetzee of the Bulls challenged by Tommaso Menoncello of Benetton Rugby during their United Rugby Championship clash in Tshwane

FILE - Marcell Coetzee of the Bulls challenged by Tommaso Menoncello of Benetton Rugby during their United Rugby Championship clash in Tshwane. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Published Aug 3, 2022

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Cape Town — Captain Marcell Coetzee and lock Ruan Nortje were the big winners at the Bulls Awards ceremony held at the Heartfelt Arena in Pretoria on Wednesday night.

Loose forward Coetzee received the most valuable player gong, while Nortje was chosen as the player of the year in the United Rugby Championship tournament, where Jake White’s team lost 18-13 to the Stormers in the final.

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Coetzee moved back to South Africa from Ulster, and quickly made his presence felt at Loftus Versfeld after a long career at the Sharks in Durban previously.

Operating mainly at openside flank, the 31-year-old was in the top five of a number of statistical categories in the URC – including most offloads (41) and joint-most tries (11, alongside Stormers wing Leolin Zas).

Coetzee was rewarded with a recall to the Springbok squad, where he started in the second Test against Wales in Bloemfontein, while he was also voted as the Bulls Fans’ Player of the Year.

Towering No 5 lock Nortje also enjoyed his breakthrough season on the international stage as he dominated the line-outs on the Bulls’ throw, while also finishing second on the most steals list with 10 (behind Glasgow’s Richie Gray on 12).

But it was the 24-year-old’s enormous work-rate that set him apart as he made significant contributions as a ball-carrier on attack and by cleaning out rucks, while he was relentless on defence as well – ending with 203 tackles for fourth position on the most tackles made list, which helped him make his Bok debut against Wales.

The other major Bulls URC awards were handed to dynamic hooker Johan Grobbelaar (best forward) and exciting wing Madosh Tambwe (best back), with Grobbelaar also being recognised by his teammates as the Players’ Player of the Year.

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Youngster Canan Moodie, who was outstanding at wing and later fullback during the URC, was chosen as the Most Improved Player for the 2021-22 season.

The Bulls will begin their URC campaign on the weekend of September 16/17/18 against the Lions in Johannesburg.

Bulls Awards Winners

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United Rugby Championship

Forward: Johan Grobbelaar. Nominees: Marcell Coetzee, Ruan Nortje

Back: Madosh Tambwe. Nominees: Harold Vorster, Kurt-Lee Arendse

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Best Player: Ruan Nortje. Nominees: Elrigh Louw, Johan Grobbelaar

Main Awards

Blue Bulls Company Employee: Heilie Brits (Finance)

Most Improved Player: Canan Moodie

‘The Bold Player’ Award: Johan Grobbelaar

Team Man: Jacques van Rooyen

Fans’ Player: Marcell Coetzee

Players’ Player: Johan Grobbelaar

Bulls Junior MVP: Tiaan Lange

Bulls Senior MVP: Marcell Coetzee

Currie Cup

Forward: Lizo Gqoboka. Nominees: Janko Swanepoel, WJ Steenkamp

Back: Marco Jansen van Vuren. Nominees: Canan Moodie, Stedman Gans

Best Player: Lizo Gqoboka. Nominees: Janko Swanepoel, Morné Steyn

Under-20

Forward: Merwe Olivier. Back: Sonwabo Sokoyi. Best Player: Cameron Hanekom

@ashfakmohamed

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