United Rugby Championship

Putting in the hard yards: Bulls lock Nortje wins URC Ironman award

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Ruan Nortje celebrates with Elrigh Louw. (Photo by Anton Geyser/Gallo Images)
Ruan Nortje celebrates with Elrigh Louw. (Photo by Anton Geyser/Gallo Images)

Bulls lock Ruan Nortje was on Monday named the winner of 2021/22's United Rugby Championship (URC) Ironman award.

This award is presented to the player that has spent the most time on the pitch during the league stages of the tournament.

As one of only 14 players to feature in all 18 league matches for their team, Nortje's stellar form during the season saw him spend 1394 minutes on the field or an average of 77 minutes every game. 

Stormers centre Ruhan Nel was second with 1339 minutes, while another Bulls player, flank Marcell Coetzee, played 1296 minutes. 

With the Bulls ready to jet off to Dublin to face Leinster in a URC semi-final clash on Friday, Nortje was delighted to be recognised for his contributions to the Bulls' efforts this season. 

"I am humbled and honoured to receive the United Rugby Championship Ironman Award for the 2021/22 season," said Nortje.

"To receive this recognition in a world-class competition with some of the most respected players is definitely something that will remain a highlight in my playing career for many years to come," he added. 

Nortje, who said he was proud to pull the Bulls jersey over his head, thanked his teammates, coaching staff and supporters. 

"I am grateful to the Bulls, our director of rugby, Jake White, the coaching staff, my teammates and the supporters of the franchise for the faith and support they have all given and had in me."

"To be able to put on the blue jersey and play for the badge in such a premier championship is something I do not take lightly. I look forward to many more memories and matches in the  URC," said Nortje.

White praised Nortje's season with the Bulls, saying that the lock had grown immensely as the season progressed.  

"We are proud of the contribution that Ruan has made this season. His dedication and hard work has been phenomenal throughout our campaign," White said. 

"Ruan has been an integral part of our squad, and he continues to grow immensely as a player and individual.

"I have no doubt that we will see more of him playing at the highest level for many more years to come. All of us at the Bulls congratulate him on winning the Ironman Award. It is a well-deserved accolade for him."  


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