De Allende up for big awards

PUBLISHED: December 10, 2015

Springboks Damian De Allende and Lood de Jager were rewarded for their good form at the Rugby World Cup when both earned two nominations in the 2015 SA Rugby Player of the Year Awards.

The full list of nominees was released by the South African Rugby Union (SARU) on Thursday with a number of other young stars playing their way into contention.

Junior Springbok star Warrick Gelant was nominated in three categories – along with dynamic Golden Lions flanker Jaco Kriel – while Blitzboks and DHL Stormers speedster Seabelo Senatla received two nominations, as did Warren Whiteley, to join DHL Stormers ace De Allende and second row De Jager among the top performers of 2015.

The Xerox Golden Lions were rewarded for a great season with a host of different nominations. As well as Kriel and Whiteley, their coach, Johan Ackermann, was also nominated and the union’s Absa Currie Cup side was named as one of three contenders for team of the year.

De Allende and De Jager will be up against Kriel, two-time winner Schalk Burger and former Young Player of the Year Eben Etzebeth for the top award, the SA Rugby Player of the Year.

Kriel was also nominated in the categories for Vodacom Super Rugby and Absa Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year.

De Allende and Whiteley are the other two nominees for Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Year, while De Jager is one of the five Absa Young Players of the Year, along with Gelant, Senatla, Jesse Kriel and Handré Pollard.

The exciting Gelant was nominated in the categories for Absa Currie Cup Premier Division and SA Under-20 Player of the Year, where he is up against Junior Springbok enforcers Hanro Liebenberg and Jason Jenkins.

The Xerox Golden Lions, who went through the entire Absa Currie Cup Premier Division season unbeaten, are one of five sides nominated by the country’s media as Absa Team of the Year, and will face opposition from the Springbok Sevens, Springboks, DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province.

Ackermann faces competition from Blitzboks coach Neil Powell and Robert du Preez of the Absa Currie Cup First Division winners, the Leopards, and NWU-Pukke to determine who will be the Absa Coach of the Year.

The three nominees in the category of Vodacom Cup Player of the Year are Wiaan Liebenberg (Vodacom Blue Bulls), JC Roos (Steval Pumas) and Marnus Schoeman (Steval Pumas), while the Absa Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year will be one of Leighton Eksteen (SWD Eagles), Juan Language (Leopards) or Rhyno Smith (Leopards).

South Africa’s rugby-loving public will be able to have their say for the SA Rugby Player, Absa Young Player and Absa Team of the Year Awards, which will be conducted online at www.springbokmagazine.com from Friday, December 11 until Friday, January 8, 2016. All the winners will be announced in the New Year.

(In alphabetical order)

SARU Rugby Player of the Year:
Schalk Burger
Damian De Allende
Lood de Jager
Eben Etzebeth
Jaco Kriel

Absa Young Player of the Year:
Lood de Jager
Warrick Gelant
Jesse Kriel
Handré Pollard
Seabelo Senatla

Absa Team of the Year:
Xerox Golden Lions (Absa Currie Cup)
Springbok Sevens
DHL Stormers (Vodacom Super Rugby)
DHL Western Province (Absa Currie Cup)

Absa Coach of the Year:
Johann Ackermann (Xerox Golden Lions)
Neil Powell (Springbok Sevens)
Robert du Preez (NWU-Pukke, Leopards)

SA Under-20 Player of the Year:
Warrick Gelant
Jason Jenkins
Hanro Liebenberg

SA Sevens Player of the Year:
Werner Kok
Seabelo Senatla
Kwagga Smith

Vodacom Super Rugby Player of Year:
Damian De Allende (DHL Stormers)
Jaco Kriel (Emirates Lions)
Warren Whiteley (Emirates Lions)

Vodacom Cup Player of the Year:
Wiaan Liebenberg (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
JC Roos (Steval Pumas)
Marnus Schoeman (Steval Pumas)

Absa Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year:
Warrick Gelant (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
Jaco Kriel (Xerox Golden Lions)
Warren Whiteley (Xerox Golden Lions)

Absa Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year:
Leighton Eksteen (SWD Eagles)
Juan Language (Leopards)
Rhyno Smith (Leopards)

* Other awards that will be presented are in the categories of MyPlayers Players’ Player of the Year, Supersport Try of the Year, Coca-Cola Craven Week Player of the Year, Marriott Referee Award, Women’s Achiever Award and Cell C Community Cup Player of the Tournament.