Springbok star Etzebeth awarded South African Rugby Player of the Year

Springbok star Etzebeth awarded South African Rugby Player of the Year

The 2023 SA Rugby Awards marked yet another milestone in the illustrious careers of some of South Africa’s most talented rugby players. Held at Multichoice City in Johannesburg, the glittering ceremony celebrated the outstanding achievements of individuals and teams across various categories, showcasing the depth of talent and dedication within the country’s rugby fraternity.

One of the standout performers of the evening was Eben Etzebeth, the formidable lock who etched his name in the annals of South African rugby history by becoming only the second player to win back-to-back SA Rugby’s Player of the Year awards. Etzebeth’s remarkable feat underscored his exceptional skill and unwavering commitment to excellence on the field. Having made his Test debut in 2012, Etzebeth has been a stalwart presence in the Springbok squad, consistently delivering commanding performances in the green and gold jersey.

His accolade was a testament to his instrumental role in the Springboks’ triumph at the Rugby World Cup in France, where they secured the Webb Ellis Cup for the second consecutive time. Throughout the season, Etzebeth showcased unmatched prowess in the scrums and lineouts, earning plaudits from fans and pundits alike. His competition for the prestigious award included luminaries such as Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi, Frans Malherbe, and Damian Willemse, highlighting the stiff competition within the national team.

Joining Etzebeth in the winner’s circle was Canan Moodie, the dynamic young wing who clinched the Young Player of the Year Award for the second consecutive season. Moodie’s electrifying pace and agility made him a formidable force on the field, contributing significantly to both the Springboks and the Vodacom Bulls. His consistent performances underscored his potential as a future star of South African rugby, earning him recognition as one of the brightest talents in the game.

Meanwhile, Libbie Janse van Rensburg emerged as the undisputed queen of women’s rugby, sweeping the women’s categories by claiming both the Springbok Women and Provincial Player of the Year awards for 2023. Janse van Rensburg’s stellar season was characterized by her exceptional scoring prowess and leadership on the field. As the highest international points’ scorer in South African rugby history, she played a pivotal role in guiding the Springbok Women to success in both 15s and sevens formats, while also spearheading the Bulls Daisies’ campaign in the Women’s Premier Division.

The ceremony also recognized the achievements of coaches and teams, with Jacques Nienaber and the Springboks securing the Coach and Team of the Year awards, respectively. Nienaber’s tactical acumen and astute leadership were instrumental in guiding the Springboks to glory on the global stage, while the team’s collective resilience and determination epitomized the spirit of South African rugby.

In addition to individual awards, special recognition was given to deserving recipients in various categories, including Ricardo Duartee, who was named Springbok Men’s Sevens Player of the Year, and Corne Beets, who claimed the Junior Springbok Player of the Year award. Moreover, the introduction of new categories, such as the SuperSport Fans’ Moment of the Year award, added an interactive element to the ceremony, allowing supporters to vote for their favorite rugby moments.

As the evening concluded, it was evident that the 2023 SA Rugby Awards had not only celebrated the past achievements of South African rugby but also heralded a promising future filled with talent, passion, and dedication. With players like Eben Etzebeth, Canan Moodie, and Libbie Janse van Rensburg leading the charge, the future of South African rugby looks brighter than ever, promising continued success on both the national and international stages.


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