Habana bags best player award

Cape Town - Springbok winger Bryan Habana was on Thursday named South African Rugby Player of the Year for the third time, while Western Province picked up a brace of awards as their Currie Cup and Vodacom Cup success was recognised at a glittering ceremony at the Cape Town International Airport.

GALLERY: SA Rugby Awards Ceremony

The Sharks also scored off the field, with three awards heading to Durban.

Habana (29) was rewarded for his striking form as he helped the Stormers to the top of the log in Super Rugby and the semi-finals of that competition, while extending his record try scoring streak with the Springboks to 47.

Habana was in superb form in the Green and Gold this year and scored seven tries in 2012, including a hat-trick against Australia at Loftus Versfeld in the Rugby Championship, resulting in him being the top try scorer in the inaugural season of the competition.

He also took the field in the Currie Cup final in Western Province colours and won the coveted trophy with this team for the first time, after tasting glory with the Blue Bulls in 2009.

Unfortunately a knee injury sustained in the match rules him out of the Boks' outgoing tour to Ireland, Scotland and England. The most capped winger in Springbok history will be missed.

The speed merchant’s third award comes after similar accolades in 2005 and 2007. He becomes only the second player to win the title more than two times, following in the footsteps of Naas Botha, who won it four times.

He was voted as Player of the Year by South Africa’s accredited rugby media and the public, who voted via the Springboks Facebook page in competition with fellow nominees Keegan Daniel, Eben Etzebeth, Patrick Lambie and JP Pietersen.

Habana’s award was the finale of a star-studded night during which 16 awards were won for rugby excellence across all age groups and competitions in 16 categories.

Western Province had three more winners on the night with Demetri Catrakilis and Deon Fourie being named Vodacom Cup and Currie Cup Players of the Season and Eben Etzebeth walking away with the Young Player of the Year award.

The Sharks also scored a treble on the night with their Currie Cup team being named AbsaTeam of the Year and their head coach John Plumtree, walking away with the Coach of the Year award. Sharks captain Keegan Daniel was voted as Super Rugby Player of the Year by the six franchise coaches.

Junior Bok midfielder Jan Serfontein, who was named Player of the Tournament after the IRB’s Junior World Cup in South Africa in June, was almost a shoe-in for the SA Under-20 Player of the Year award, while Griffons utility back Hansie Graaff grabbed the spoils of Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year.

Cecil Afrika got the award for Springbok Sevens Player of the Year for the second year running in a new voting process which saw media and the public each contributing 50% of the vote.

The SARPA Players’ Player of the Year Award went to Springbok winger JP Pietersen, while Bryan Habana’s try against New Zealand in Dunedin was voted Supersport Try of the Year by the channel’s viewers.

Oregan Hoskins, President of SARU, congratulated the winners and applauded the achievements of local teams in 2012.

“We saw our Junior Boks win the IRB Junior World Championship on home soil, beating New Zealand for the title at Newlands, we had the Stormers top the log of the Super Rugby competition, which also had the Blue Bulls and the Sharks in the top six and then saw the latter reaching the final of the competition despite a very tough travelling schedule.

“On the domestic front the enlarged Currie Cup First Division lifted the standard of play considerably and the six-team Currie Cup Premier Division proved a massive success with every weekend delivering nail-biting action,” Hoskins said.

The winners and finalists (where applicable) in all the categories are:

SARU Rugby Player of the Year

Winner: Bryan Habana
Finalists: Keegan Daniel, Eben Etzebeth, Pat Lambie, JP Pietersen

Young Player of the Year

Winner: Eben Etzebeth
Finalists: Marcell Coetzee, Johan Goosen, Elton Jantjies, Raymond Rhule.

Team of the Year

Winner: Sharks (Currie Cup)
Finalists: Stormers (Super Rugby), EP Kings (Currie Cup First Division), Junior Boks (IRB Junior World Championship), Sharks (Super Rugby).

Coach of the Year

Winner: John Plumtree (Sharks)
Finalists: Allister Coetzee (Stormers and Western Province), Pote Human (Griquas), Alan Solomons (EP Kings), Dawie Theron (SA Under-20).

Super Rugby Player of the Year

Winner: Keegan Daniel (Sharks)
Finalists: Marcell Coetzee (Sharks), Bismarck du Plessis (Sharks), Eben Etzebeth (Stormers), JP Pietersen (Sharks).

Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year

Winner: Deon Fourie (Western Province)
Finalists: JC Janse van Rensburg (Golden Lions), Elton Jantjies (Golden Lions), Louis Ludik (Sharks), Raymond Rhule (Free State Cheetahs).

Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year

Winner: Hansie Graaff (Griffons)
Finalists: JW Jonker (Pumas), Rudi Mathee (Pumas), Paul Perez (EP Kings), Luke Watson (EP Kings).

Vodacom Cup Player of the Year

Winner: Demetri Catrakilis (Western Province)
Finalists: Marcel Brache (Western Province), Jaco Kriel (Golden Lions), Gouws Prinsloo (Sharks XV), Jan Serfontein (Blue Bulls).

SARPA Players’ Player of the Year: JP Pietersen (The Sharks)

Springbok Sevens Player of the Year: Cecil Afrika

SuperSport Try of the Year

Winner: Bryan Habana (Springboks v All Blacks, Rugby Championship)

Finalists: Johan Goosen (Cheetahs v Crusaders, Super Rugby); Joe Pietersen (Stormers v Highlanders, Super Rugby); Paul Jordaan (Sharks v Reds, Super Rugby); Jaco Taute (Golden Lions v Blue Bulls, Absa Currie Cup).

SA Under-20 Player of the Year: Jan Serfontein (Blue Bulls)

Coca-Cola Craven Week Player of the Tournament: Sergeal Petersen (Eastern Province)

Marriott Referee Award: Jaco Peyer

Women’s Achiever of the Year:
Yolanda Meiring (Blue Bulls)

SARU National Club Championship Player of the Tournament: Nico Luus (Pretoria Police)
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It's a disgrace! Both Siya Kolisi AND Eben Etzebeth should have been nominated!
39% - 6343 votes
Siya, at the very least, should have been included after a superb season
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Etzebeth has been SA's best player this year and should feel hard done by
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Get over it! Moaning about this just sounds like sour grapes!
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