JOHANNESBURG – Springbok hooker Malcolm Marx was the big winner at the Lions’ prize-giving day at Ellis Park on Saturday, walking away with four awards.
The 23-year-old, who made his Bok debut against the All Blacks in 2016 and who has played in 14 Tests, was rewarded for an outstanding 2017 season.
In the Test against the All Blacks at Newlands the hooker was given a score of 10 out of 10 by a New Zealand media outlet, and he’d win several man of the match awards during the season.
Marx was named the Lions’ Super Rugby Player of the Year, the Supporters’ Player of the Year, the Players’ Player of the Year and the Most Valued Player of the Year.
He is again set to play a key role for the Boks this season as they look to move up the rankings after a disappointing 2016 and 2017, which late last week culminated in coach Allister Coetzee losing his job.
The other big winner at the prize-giving was flanker Kwagga Smith, who was named the Currie Cup Player of the Year.
The slightly-built flanker is currently on duty with the SA Sevens team, but is expected back in Joburg in time to come into consideration for the start of Super Rugby on February 17 when the Lions host the Sharks at Ellis Park.
Marvin Orie was named the best forward in the Currie Cup, with Ashlon Davids picking up the prize for best back.
In Super Rugby, Ross Cronjé was named the best back, while Franco Mostert was named best forward after both enjoyed successful campaigns, with both also featuring regularly for the Springboks.
The Lions’ very successful juniors and women’s players were also rewarded on the day with Ashleigh Murray picking up the gong for best women’s referee at the union.
Kimico Manual was named women’s backline player of the year, while among the Under-19 players, PJ Botha (forward), Jack Hart (backline) and Dian Schoonees (player of the year) were rewarded for their performances in 2017.
Among the Under-21 players, Eddie Fouché (backline) and Jo-Hanko de Villiers (forwards and player of the year) picked up prizes.