SA’s 2 on shortlist

2015-06-10 06:01
SEABELO SENATLA, the leading try scorer of the Blitzbokke.

SEABELO SENATLA, the leading try scorer of the Blitzbokke.

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A SHORTLIST of three nominees – two South Africans and one Fijian – has been unveiled for the 2015 World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year Award, in association with HSBC.

Following the ninth and final round of the 2014-’15 HSBC Sevens World Series in London, Werner Kok, Semi Kunatani and Seabelo Senatla have been nominated for the award.

The outstanding trio were voted for by the management teams of the 15 core sides that compete in all nine rounds of the world series.

This announcement, made by World Rugby on 17 May, caps off a memorable season for the Springbok Sevens duo, who alongside fellow team member Kwagga Smith was also named in the Series Dream Team after the completion of the final tournament in London.

The three players on the shortlist are the first World Rugby Award nominees to be announced in 2015.

The winners of all the awards will be announced at the World Rugby Awards dinner on 1 November at Battersea Evolution, ­London, following the Rugby World Cup 2015 final.

Senatla finished the season as the leading try scorer, with 47 tries, and has scored two of this year’s fans’ favourites, as well as scoring in both of South Africa’s cup final victories in Dubai and Port Elizabeth.

His blistering pace has been one of the talking points of the season, with few able to catch him when he is in full flow.

Senatla was humbled by the nomination, but mentioned that a series win would have made a difference.

“It would have been more special had the team achieved the series win, because that is what it was all about,” Senatla said.

“The team was solid all year and my personal achievements come from the team. The credit should go to them and our management.”

Kok agreed with Senatla.

“They were there all the way and brought the energy and effort, and that made me the best player I could be. It is still a great honour for me.”

Having made his debut in London last season, Kok has been instrumental in South Africa’s performances in all nine of the 2014-’15 tournaments, most notably in the cup win on home soil in Port Elizabeth, and as the Blitzboks became the first side to confirm qualification for the Olympic Games in Rio.

Kok ended the season as the leading tackler of all players.

Kunatani has been impressive in both attack and defence for Ben Ryan’s side in all of their cup titles this season, finishing the season as one of the leading tacklers and try scorers


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