Sharks win awards after defeat

2012-11-03 00:00

THE Sharks, beaten in both the Super Rugby and Currie Cup finals, had nothing to show for their outstanding season — until Thursday night.

The SA Rugby’s annual awards were held in Cape Town, and the Sharks were rewarded both for their team efforts and the form of a number of individual players.

The Sharks won the Team of the Year award and John Plumtree was named Coach of the Year. Captain and flank Keegan Daniel, who was discarded by Springbok coach early in the Test season, was voted the Super Rugby Player of the Year, while wing J.P. Pietersen, who missed all the internationals because of a fractured thumb, was named by his peers as the SARPA Players’ Player of the Year.

Sharks CEO Brian van Zyl yesterday said he was delighted with the awards.

“It is very pleasing to see the Sharks, both as a team and the individuals in it, rewarded as well as acknowledged for their efforts and hard work this year.

“Although the Sharks didn’t manage to win finals, the fact that they featured in the two major competition finals shows that we have assembled a very good team with exceptional coaching and management staff.

“I would like to congratulate John Plumtree, Keegan Daniel, J.P. Pietersen and the team for their awards. They have made the union proud.”

Plumtree said that the awards had helped lift some of the gloom following last Saturday’s Currie Cup defeat, adding that the season had been both frustrating and rewarding.

“It was such a lovely evening for the Sharks,” said Plumtree of Thursday’s function.

“I hope all the Sharks fans are proud that this team has some reward. We didn’t kick on to win a final, but we had some outstanding achievements that have now been recognised.”

Daniel was voted Super Rugby Player of the Year by the franchise coaches, beating off a Sharks-dominated list of Marcell Coetzee, Bismarck du Plessis and J.P. Pietersen, along with the Stormers’ Eben Etzebeth who was named Young Player of the Year.

A revitalised Bryan Habana, in record-breaking form for the Boks, was named South African Rugby Player of the Year, ahead of Keegan Daniel, Pat Lambie and J.P. Pietersen (all Sharks) and Eben Etzebeth of Western Province.

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