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Du Preez SA's best in 2006

2006-11-01 20:12

Johannesburg - Springbok scrumhalf Fourie du Preez is the 2006 SA Rugby Player of the Year. Du Preez, who was one of the five nominees for the SA Rugby's top award, was crowned at the annual SA Rugby Awards banquet in Sandton on Wednesday night.

The other nominees for the award were fellow Springboks Victor Matfield, Os du Randt and Pierre Spies as well as Western Province captain, Luke Watson.

Previous winners of this top-accolade include Springboks Andre Vos, Andre Venter, Breyton Paulse, Joe van Niekerk, Ashwin Willemse, Schalk Burger and Bryan Habana.

The SA Rugby Player of the Year Award is the most coveted in the South African game. The Award is presented to the player who has performed consistently well at the highest levels of the game throughout the 2006 season.

The 2006 Players' Player of the Year Award, which is chosen by the country's professional players, was awarded to popular Free State Cheetahs flanker Kabamba Floors. Previous winners in this category include 1995 World Cup winner Du Randt (2004) and current Springbok captain John Smit (2005).

SA Sevens star Floors also received the Currie Cup Player of the Year Award for his outstanding performances in the Cheetahs jersey.

Congratulated the award winners

Watson was awarded the Super 14 Player of the Year prize, while another Blue Bull, Stefan Basson is the SA Sevens Player for 2006.

Saru president Oregan Hoskins, who attended the glittering event with a host of rugby and media personalities as well as corporate sponsors, congratulated the award winners on their achievements.

In referring to yet another successful domestic rugby season, Hoskins praised the players, administrators, match-officials and the many volunteers for their contribution towards the exceptional high standard of rugby produced during the 2006 Currie Cup competition.

"This year's competition produced outstanding rugby and a huge amount of excitement for the fans. Saru is especially pleased with the high quality performances delivered by the group of emerging talent. Judging by their performances and in view of the strategic absence of the contracted group of Springboks from the competition, I am pleased to say that South African rugby is in a very healthy state," said Hoskins

Springbok newcomer Spies, also a member of the SA Under-21 team to the IRB World Championships earlier this year in France, was crowned the Most Promising Player of the Year.

Like Floors, Keegan Daniel walked off with two awards. He was voted as the Vodacom Cup Player of the Year as well as the SA Under-21 Player of the Year. Gio Aplon's sublime effort in the Currie Cup match for the Western Province against the Blue Bulls at Newlands was judged as the Try of the Year.

Kaplan referee of the year

Nominees in the six main award categories were determined by votes from the country's rugby media. The independent panel of judges comprising of leading South African rugby journalists, broadcasters and radio commentators, voted to determine the respective winners.

Leading SA referee Jonathan Kaplan added Referee of the Year title to his impressive list of top-match official awards.

Mandisa Williams of Border and a member of the national women's team that competed in the country's first IRB Women's World Cup Tournament in Canada earlier in the year, was decorated with the Women's Rugby Achiever of the Year prize.

In the media categories, Rapport rugby writer JJ Harmse scooped the Springbok Journalist of the Year. Former Bok World Cup winning lock Kobus Wiese received the Springbok Commentator of the Year accolade while Wessel Oosthuizen (The Citizen) was praised as the Springbok Photographer of the Year.

The full list of 2006 Awards winners is as follows:

SA Rugby Player of the Year: Fourie du Preez (Blue Bulls)

Player's Player of the Year: Kabamba Floors (Free Sate Cheetahs)

SA Sevens Player of the Year: Stefan Basson (Blue Bulls)

Most Promising Player of the Year: Pierre Spies (Blue Bulls)

Rugby Super 14 Player of the Year: Luke Watson (Western Province)

Currie Cup Player of the Year: Kabamba Floors (Free State Cheetahs)

Vodacom Cup Player of the Year: Keegan Daniel (The Sharks)

SA Under-21 Player of the Year: Keegan Daniel (The Sharks)

SA Under-19 Player of the Year: Francois Steyn (The Sharks)

Try of the Year: Gio Aplon (Western Province)

National Club Championship Player of the Tournament: Deon Booysen (Progress Rugby Club, Eastern Province)

Women's Rugby Player of the Year: Mandisa Williams (Border)

Referee of the Year: Jonathan Kaplan (SA Rugby)

Craven Week Player of the Tournament: Cecil Afrika (Griffons)

SASOL MEDIA AWARDS

Springbok Journalist of the Year: JJ Harmse (Rapport)

Springbok Commentator of the Year: Kobus Wiese (SuperSport)

Springbok Photographer of the Year: Wessel Oosthuizen (The Citizen).