Springbok star Cheslin Kolbe voted as SA's best rugby player - by the players
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He may be sidelined with a leg injury at the moment, but Cheslin Kolbe has not been forgotten by South Africa's professional rugby players.
The star wing was shown the ultimate respect by his peers when he was handed the Players' Player of the Year award at the BrightRock Players Choice Awards in partnership with MyPlayers on Thursday.
The 27-year-old Capetonian has excelled for club and country this year, helping his French side Toulouse to the Top 14 and European Champions Cup titles, while also scoring a memorable try for the Springboks against the British and Irish Lions.
He beat off the challenges from the other nominees - Bok captain Siya Kolisi, Damian de Allende, Eben Etzebeth, Lukhanyo Am and Franco Mostert for the Players' Player of the Year award.
Bok fans will hope that Kolbe is back on the pitch soon. He has posted videos on his social media channels showcasing the hard work he is putting in to get ready for next weekend's Rugby Championship Test against the All Blacks, having missed out on the two defeats to Australia and this Saturday’s clash against New Zealand.
There was some joy for Kolisi, though, as he was chosen as the Forward of the Year, while De Allende is the Backline Player of the Year.
Am received the Defender of the Year gong, while other Boks who were recognised were Trevor Nyakane (Best off the Bench) and Duane Vermeulen (Fans’ Choice).
Vermeulen's award resulted in a R30 000 donation to the Chris Burger Petro Jackson Players’ Fund as well, which also received an additional R140 000 from the players via the MyPlayers organisation.
Springbok Women’s captain Lusanda Dumke earned the Most Improved Player award.
"It means a lot to me as an individual player, but it also means a lot to professional women's rugby as a whole," Dumke said.
"This victory, in my opinion, demonstrates that we as South Africa's professional women's rugby team are doing a fantastic job.
"We are grateful for all of the wonderful support we have received in recent months, and can assure South Africans that this is only the beginning for us.
"We are already looking forward to achieving more victories for South African women's rugby at next year's awards!"
Forward Player of the Year: Siya Kolisi (Springboks | Sharks)
Backline Player of the Year: Damian de Allende (Springboks)
Defender of the Year: Lukhanyo Am (Springboks | Sharks)
Best off the Bench: Trevor Nyakane (Springboks | Bulls)
LoveChange Most Improved Player: Lusanda Dumke (Springbok Women | Border)
Fans’ Choice Award: Duane Vermeulen (Springboks)
Players’ Player of the Year: Cheslin Kolbe (Springboks)