DHL WP and Stormers winger Bryan Habana was on Thursday named South African Rugby Player of the Year for the third time, while DHL Western Province picked up a brace of awards as their Absa Currie Cup and Vodacom Cup success was recognised at a glittering ceremony at the Cape Town International Airport.
Habana (29) was rewarded for his striking form as he helped the DHL Stormers to the top of the log in Vodacom Super Rugby and the semifinals of that competition, while extending his record try-scoring streak with the Springboks to 47.
The 2007 World Player of the Year was in superb form in the Green & Gold this year and scored seven tries in 2012 – including a hat-trick against Australia at Loftus Versfeld in The Rugby Championship, resulting in him being the top try-scorer in the inaugural season of the competition.
He also took the field in the Absa Currie Cup Final in DHL Western Province colours and won the coveted trophy with this team for the first time, after tasting glory with the Vodacom Blue Bulls in 2009. Unfortunately, a knee injury sustained in the match rules him out of the Castle Outgoing Tour to Ireland, Scotland and England – the most-capped winger in Springbok history will be missed.
The speed merchant’s third award comes after similar accolades in 2005 and 2007. He becomes only the second player to win the title more than two times, following in the footsteps of Naas Botha, who won it four times.
He was voted as Player of the Year by South Africa’s accredited rugby media and the public, who voted via the Springboks’Facebook page in competition with fellow nominees Keegan Daniel, Eben Etzebeth, Pat Lambie and JP Pietersen.
Habana’s award was the finale of a star-studded night during which 16 awards were won for rugby excellence across all age groups and competitions in 16 categories. DHL Western Province had three more winners on the night, with Demetri Catrakilis and Deon Fourie being named Vodacom Cup and Absa Currie Cup Players of the Season, respectively, andEben Etzebeth walking away with the Young Player of the Year Award.
The Sharks also scored a treble on the night with their Absa Currie Cup team being named Absa Team of the Year and their head coach John Plumtree, walking away with the Absa Coach of the Year Award. Sharks captain Keegan Daniel was voted as Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Year by the six franchise coaches.
Junior Bok midfielder Jan Serfontein, who was named Player of the Tournament after the IRB’s Junior World Cup in South Africa in June, was almost a shoe-in for the SA Under-20 Player of the Year award, while Griffons utility back Hansie Graaff grabbed the spoils of Absa Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year.
Cecil Afrika got the award for Springbok Sevens Player of the Year for the second year running in a new voting process which saw media and the public each contributing 50% of the vote.
The SARPA Players’ Player of the Year Award went to Springbok winger JP Pietersen, while Habana’s try against New Zealand in Dunedin was voted Supersport Try of the Year by the channel’s viewers.
Mr Oregan Hoskins, President of SARU, congratulated the winners and applauded the achievements of local teams in 2012.
“We saw our Junior Boks win the IRB Junior World Championship on home soil, beating New Zealand for the title at Newlands, we had the DHL Stormers top the log of the Vodacom Super Rugby competition, which also had the Vodacom Blue Bulls and The Sharks in the top six and then saw the latter reaching the final of the competition despite a very tough travelling schedule.
“On the domestic front the enlarged Absa Currie Cup First Division lifted the standard of play considerably and the six-team Absa Currie Cup Premier Division proved a massive success with every weekend delivering nailbiting action,” Hoskins said.
The winners and finalists (where applicable) in all the categories are:
SARU Rugby Player of the Year:
Winner: Bryan Habana
Finalists: Keegan Daniel, Eben Etzebeth, Pat Lambie, JP Pietersen
Absa Young Player of the Year:
Winner: Eben Etzebeth
Finalists: Marcell Coetzee, Johan Goosen, Elton Jantjies, Raymond Rhule
Absa Team of the Year:
Winner: The Sharks (Absa Currie Cup)
Finalists: DHL Stormers (Vodacom Super Rugby), EP Kings (Absa Currie Cup First Division), Junior Boks (IRB Junior World Championship), The Sharks (Vodacom Super Rugby)
Absa Coach of the Year:
Winner: John Plumtree (The Sharks)
Finalists: Allister Coetzee (DHL Stormers and Western Province), Pote Human (GWK Griquas), Alan Solomons (EP Kings), Dawie Theron (SA Under-20)
Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Year:
Winner: Keegan Daniel (The Sharks)
Finalists: Marcell Coetzee (The Sharks), Bismarck du Plessis (The Sharks), Eben Etzebeth (DHL Stormers), JP Pietersen (The Sharks)
Absa Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year:
Winner: Deon Fourie (DHL Western Province)
Finalists: JC Janse van Rensburg (MTN Golden Lions), Elton Jantjies (MTN Golden Lions), Louis Ludik (The Sharks), Raymond Rhule (Toyota Free State Cheetahs)
Absa Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year:
Winner: Hansie Graaff (Griffons)
Finalists: JW Jonker (Ford Pumas), Rudi Mathee (Ford Pumas), Paul Perez (EP Kings), Luke Watson (EP Kings)
Vodacom Cup Player of the Year
Winner: Demetri Catrakilis (DHL Western Province)
Finalists: Marcel Brache (DHL Western Province), Jaco Kriel (MTN Golden Lions), Gouws Prinsloo (Sharks XV), Jan Serfontein (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
SARPA Players’ Player of the Year: JP Pietersen (The Sharks)
Springbok Sevens Player of the Year: Cecil Afrika
Supersport Try of the Year:
Winner: Bryan Habana (Springboks v All Blacks, The Rugby Championship)
Finalists: Johan Goosen (Toyota Cheetahs v Crusaders, Vodacom Super Rugby); Joe Pietersen (DHL Stormers v Highlanders, Vodacom Super Rugby); Paul Jordaan (The Sharks v Reds, Vodacom Super Rugby); Jaco Taute (MTN Golden Lions v Vodacom Blue Bulls, Absa Currie Cup)
SA Under-20 Player of the Year: Jan Serfontein (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
Coca-Cola Craven Week Player of the Tournament: Sergeal Petersen (Eastern Province)
Marriott Referee Award: Jaco Peyer
Women’s Achiever of the Year: Yolanda Meiring (Blue Bulls)
SARU National Club Championship Player of the Tournament: Nico Luus (Pretoria Police)