PRETORIA – Springbok centre Jesse Kriel walked away the biggest winner from the Blue Bulls Player Awards after the being crowned as the franchise’s Super Rugby Player of the Year on Thursday.
The 24-year-old Kriel was the mainstay of the Bulls backline and thrived under the mentorship of former Bulls coach John Mitchell, which translated into his form at international level for the Springboks.
Bok lock Lood de Jager, who had a standout season in Super Rugby before suffering a season ending pectoral muscle tear, was named Forward of the Year, while national scrumhalf Ivan van Zyl walked away with the Backline Player of the Year.
Another new Springbok loose forward, Marco van Staden – who made his Super Rugby debut this year and played at flank and No 8 – was voted by his peers as the Players’ Player of the Year.
There were more accolades for another of the Bulls’ new Springboks in abrasive lock RG Snyman, who was awarded the senior MVP prize.
While the Blue Bulls faltered at the penultimate hurdle in the Currie Cup, losing in extra time to Western Province in the semi-finals, there were new stars born in the domestic competition.
Zimbabwean-born lock Eli Snyman walked away with the Forward of the Year award and Namibian international Divan Rossouw was crowned the Back of the Year.
Robust loose forward Ruan Steenkamp was voted Currie Cup Players’ Player of the Year and also Player of the Year in a competition where he made his comeback from a double injury that kept him out on the sidelines for almost a year.
Sensational young fullback Earll Douwrie was awarded the SuperSport Rugby Challenge Player of the Year after a stellar season in senior rugby, and hooker Johan Grobbelaar walked away with the Under-21 Player of the Year and the Under-21s’ Players’ Player of the Year, to add to his Junior MVP of the Year.
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Vodacom Bulls Vodacom Super Rugby Awards: Forward of the year is Lood de Jager Back of the year is Ivan van Zyl Players Player of the year is Marco van Staden Player of the year is Jesse Kriel #BullsFamilyAwards
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Selected Bulls Award Winners
Super Rugby Forward of the Year: Lood de Jager
Super Rugby Back of the Year: Ivan van Zyl
Super Rugby Players' Player of the Year: Marco van Staden
Super Rugby Player of the Year: Jesse Kriel
Currie Cup Forward ofthe Year: Eli Snyman
Currie Cup Back of the Year: Divan Rossouw
Currie Cup Players' Player of the Year: Ruan Steenkamp
Currie Cup Player of the Year: Ruan Steenkamp
SuperSport Challenge Forward of the Year: Abongile Nonkontwana
SuperSport Challenge Back of the Year: JT Jackson
SuperSport Challenge Players’ Player of the Year: JT Jackson
SuperSport Challenge Player of the Year: Earll Douwrie
Blue Bulls Senior MVP: RG Snyman@Vata_Ngobeni