CAPE TOWN - Springbok and Emirates Lions hooker Malcolm Marx leads the nominations for the SA Rugby Player of the Year 2017 awards with three, closely followed by four players who bagged two nominations each.
The 23-year-old Marx is nominated in the top category, SA Rugby Player of the Year, as well as for Young Player and Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Year.
Marx’s fellow-nominees for SA Rugby Player of the Year are Springbok captain Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Jaco Kriel and Jan Serfontein, all of whom were in impressive form not only for the Boks, but also for their Vodacom Super Rugby franchises earlier in the season.
The four players nominated in two categories are Jaco Kriel (SA Rugby and Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Year), Warrick Gelant (Young Player and Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year), as well as Curwin Bosch and Damian Willemse, both of whom are nominated in the categories for Young Player and Junior Springbok Player of the Year.
“Four of these five players are aged 23 and younger, which bodes very well for the future of the game here in South Africa,” said SA Rugby President, Mr Mark Alexander.
“I would like to congratulate Malcolm, Jaco, Warrick, Curwin and Damian on their multiple nominations, as well as all the other players, coaches and teams who were recognised for their performances in 2017.”
The awards for Coach and Team of the Year are a straight shoot-out between three sides and their coaches – the Springbok Sevens team and Neil Powell, the Emirates Lions and Johan Ackermann, and DHL Western Province and John Dobson.
Powell led the Blitzboks to the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series crown in 2016/17 and the team won a total of five tournaments; Ackermann’s Emirates Lions finished at the top of the Vodacom Super Rugby standings and were runners-up in the competition; and Dobson coached DHL Western Province to titles in the Currie Cup Premier Division and the new SuperSport Rugby Challenge.
Juarno Augustus, who was already crowned the World Rugby U20 Championship Player of the Tournament in June, is up against his SA U20 team-mates Bosch and Willemse for the Junior Springbok Player of the Year award.
And the three Blitzboks who are nominated for the Steinhoff Springbok Sevens Player of the Year award are Rosko Specman – one of the three candidates for the World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year Award for 2017 – Werner Kok and team captain, Philip Snyman.
Other categories where awards will be made are: Supersport Try of the Year, Coca-Cola Craven Week Player of the Tournament, Outsurance Referee of the Year and Springbok Women’s Achiever of the Year, while Graham Knoop of DirectAxis False Bay was already named Club Player of the Year after the Gold Cup final last month.
The names of the winners will be announced early in the new season next year.
The nominees are (in alphabetical order):
SA Rugby Player of the Year
Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Jaco Kriel, Malcolm Marx and Jan Serfontein
SA Rugby Young Player of the Year
Curwin Bosch, Jean-Luc du Preez, Warrick Gelant, Malcolm Marx and Damian Willemse
Team of the Year
Emirates Lions (Vodacom Super Rugby runners up), Springbok Sevens (HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series winners) and DHL Western Province (Currie Cup Premier Division and Supersport Rugby Challenge winners)
Coach of the Year
Johan Ackermann (Emirates Lions), John Dobson (DHL Western Province) and Neil Powell (Springbok Sevens)
Steinhoff Springbok Sevens Player of the Year
Chris Dry, Werner Kok and Rosko Specman
Junior Springbok Player of the Year
Juarno Augustus, Curwin Bosch and Damian Willemse
Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Tournament
Jaco Kriel (Emirates Lions), Malcolm Marx (Emirates Lions) and Franco Mostert (Emirates Lions)
Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year
Nizaam Carr (DHL Western Province), Robert du Preez (DHL Western Province) and Warrick Gelant (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year
Jaun Kotze (Down Touch Griffons), Tertius Maarman (Down Touch Griffons) and Jeandré Rudolph (Leopards)
SuperSport Rugby Challenge Player of the Year
Craig Barry (DHL Western Province), Enver Brandt (Tafel Lager Griquas) and Shaun Reynolds (Xerox Golden Lions XV)
SA Rugby Media