BrightRock Fans' Choice Awards race heats up

BrightRock Players Choice Awards (File)
BrightRock Players Choice Awards (File)

Cape Town - South African fans will have the opportunity to vote in the Brightrock Fans Choice Award and help the fans' favourite receive R50 000 for their chosen charity.

The players nominated for the Fans Choice Award are Werner Kok, Damian Willemse, Hacjivah Dayimani and Warrick Gelant.

READ: Top SA stars to fight it out at BrightRock Players Choice Awards

The second annual BrightRock Players Choice Awards, brought to you by BrightRock and MyPlayers, will be held in Sandton on Tuesday, December 11.

Here are the nominees and their chosen charities:

Damian Willemse - Future Springbok backline authority

Damian is what is often referred to as the future of South African rugby, a versatile backline player that can instil his expertise as a flyhalf, fullback, and, most recently, as a centre in the 2018 Currie Cup final. His adaptability quickly placed him on the radar of national selectors, with Damian earning his call-up to the senior national squad, and making his Springbok debut earlier this year against South American foes, Argentina.

Raised in the Western Cape, Damian attended and played rugby for Paul Roos Gymnasium, while being selected to represent his province in both the U16 Grant Khomo Week tournaments and the renowned Craven Week. Having represented South Africa at both school and U20 levels respectively, his next step would prove to be the defining moment that will lead to an illustrious career in the game - his selection by the Stormers for the 2018 Super Rugby campaign, a mere few months after matric.

As a nominee in the BrightRock Fans' Choice Awards, Damian's charity of choice is FoodForward SA, an initiative to address the problem of widespread hunger in South Africa.

FoodForward SA connects a world of excess to a world of need by recovering surplus food from the consumer goods supply chain. Through partnerships with various stakeholders, the NGO implements an ecosystem that utilises surplus food as a catalyst for social change. To date, the various projects associated with the cause have contributed to 17 600 000 meals last year, accounting for over 4 400 tons of food being distributed to as many as 250 000 people in need.

To vote for Damian, click THIS LINK and help him take home the Fans' Choice Award as well as winning R50 000 for his charity.

damian willemse

Hacjivah Dayimani - The epitome of a loose forward

Measuring at 6ft2 and weighing close to the 100kg mark, one would imagine that 21 year-old loose forward sensation, Hacjivah Dayimani, would not be as agile around the field as others. Few realise that the Jeppe old boy freight train has recorded a blistering time of 10.68sec across the 100m stretch.

Having been drafted into the Golden Lions to represent the union on both Currie Cup and Super Rugby stages, Hacjivah has shown that he has the potential to become a threat to senior and established players on both a provincial and a national stage in the future. His prowess around the rucks, strength and control in the scrums, and as a strong ball carrier, he has cemented his standing as a player for future selectors to take notice of.

Having realised from an early age what the involvement in rugby can do to for a child and young adult, Hacjivah has partnered with Touch Rugby Sundays - an initiative formed by a group of friends to enjoy the game of rugby while staying fit amid their sometimes-stressful work lives.

The group has long made charity a prerogative, lending aid to a number of organisations through blanket drives and food donations; and in particular, focusing their energies on the Home of Hope NPO, which will be the beneficiary should Hacjivah take home this year's honours in the Fans' Choice category of the BrightRock Players Choice Awards.

Founded in 2000 by the indefatigable Mam' Khanyi Motsa, the establishment acts as a place of safety for children facing a number of hardships. Today, it has evolved into an organisation that not only takes care of children in a single residence foster home, but also provides education to children with special needs, helping them become productive and responsible members of the community.

To vote for Hacjivah, click THIS LINK and help him take home the Fans' Choice Award as well as winning R50 000 for his charity.

Hacjivah Dayimani

Werner Kok - Samson-like brute power coupled with blitz speed

Undoubtedly one of the standout players for the BlitzBokke over the past few seasons, Werner Kok, truly highlights what it means to be a versatile player, often making use of his Samson-like brute strength, speed, and determination to plough through the opposition on his way to the try line. And he has the hair to match.

Having already been recognised as the World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year for 2015, the Nelspruit native’s passion and expertise in the game has made him an international sensation - not only on the sevens stage but across multiple facets of the game. Werner represented the Pumas in his youth, evolved his 15s career at his adoptive Western Cape home and became one of the most recognised figures on the 7s stage. Having declined participating in the 15s arena this year, Werner has his sights set on the 2018/2019 Sevens World Series.

Werner’s passions extend off the field as well, where his love for animals is evident through his involvement with a number of charities including the Woof Project - a Western Cape-based pop up dog adoption initiative. To date, the project has seen great success and will surely be the catalyst to drive similar projects across the country.

BrightRock has joined MyPlayers for the second year in honouring South Africa's best rugby talent. The awards - held by the players, for the players - are the only accolades of their kind in the country. Designed by the players themselves to recognise their peers, both on and off of the rugby field, the awards spanning seven categories. Besides the six categories voted for by the players, there’s also Fans’ Choice Award that gives rugby supporters a platform to recognise their South Africa's favourite rugby player.

To vote for Werner, click THIS LINK and help him take home the Fans' Choice Award as well as winning R50 000 for his charity.

werner kok

Warrick Gelant - Sidestepping the competition

Sidestepping the competition, fleet-footed Warrick Gelant has made his mark in South African rugby, notably for his ability to break the line and decisively attack the gain line to place the opposition on the back foot.

Having represented South West Districts from U13 level through to the U18 Craven Week competition, Warrick progressed quickly into the national setup, first representing the country as part of the South African Schools team at the tender age of 17.

He again represented South Africa in 2014 as part of the U20 squad in the 2014 IRB Junior World Championships, before heeding the call to join the South Africa Sevens side for the 2014/15 Sevens World Series campaign.

After finishing high school, Warrick made the trip north and relocated in Pretoria, joining the Blue Bulls squad and qualifying to represent them the Super Rugby competition. His innovation and skill in the backline has secured his position in the starting fullback berth; with his abilities having caught the attention of national selectors. This saw him win a number of caps in the green and gold, and he will surely be a contender for inclusion into the 2019 Rugby World Cup squad.

As a contender in the Fans' Choice category of this year's BrightRock Players Choice Awards, Warrick's charity of choice is The Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children, a hub for women and children who are survivors of abuse - be it domestic abuse or sexual violence. The organisation provides a number of services to women and children in need, including a 24-hour emergency shelter, short- and medium-term residential care, counselling, legal advice, and job skills training.

To vote for Warrick, click THIS LINK and help him take home the Fans' Choice Award as well as winning R50 000 for his charity.

warrick gelant

Images: Supplied by Brightrock

More details are available on the awards' Facebook page.

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