With SARU having opened the voting for the 2012 Rugby Player of the Year Awards to the public, you, as Western Province Rugby fans, can have your say and vote your teams and players into the big time this year.
As it was announced on Monday, the public will be asked to cast their votes in six of the 16 categories – including the top three awards of Player, Young Player and Team of the Year categories – as part of a major revamp of the SA Rugby Awards.
With the DHL Stormers (as SA Conference winners) and DHL Western Province (as Vodacom Cup winners) having tasted success this year – the Stormers losing just two games and the WP Vodacom Cup side going unbeaten all season long – both can come into contention in the Team of the Year category.
The Stormers, in winning 14 from 16 league matches, not only won the SA Conference for the second successive year but they also topped the overall Vodacom Super Rugby log.
The WP Vodacom Cup side, meanwhile, made history by becoming the first WP side to win the tournament which dates back to 1998, a last-minute try in the final – against Griquas in Kimberley – securing a dramatic and fairytale-like victory.
But those successful team performances aside, players like Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi and Nizaam Carr made their first – impressive – steps at Super Rugby level, and would come into contention in the Young Player of the Year Category. Etzebeth, in particular, made giant strides in 2012; having gone straight into the Springbok mix after just one season of Vodacom Super Rugby.
In terms of Try of the Season contenders, Stormers fullback Joe Pietersen scored a stunner against the Highlanders (on April 7 at the Forsyth Barr Stadium), whilst the likes of Dillyn Leyds, Tshotsho Mbovane, Pat Howard, Kobus van Wyk, Olliver Kebble and Steven Kitshoff were all part of the winning SA Under-20 team and would all come into contention for the coveted Young Player of the Year Award.
Get behind your favourite teams and players at WP Rugby and vote in the following categories by emailing your nomination to SARUPOY2012@sarugby.co.za:
– Young Player of the Year
– Team of the Year
– Springbok Sevens Player of the Year
– SA Under-20 Player of the Year
– SuperSport Try of the Year
The public can vote for the SA Rugby Player of the Year Award on SARU’s Facebook page. Go to www.facebook.com/springboks and vote on the specially designed app on the page. (Rules of the competition and terms and conditions are available on that page.)
With voting having already started on Tuesday, and closing on Wednesday, October 17, SARU CEO Jurie Roux commented: “We wanted to give rugby fans a voice in the game – and a loud one at that – and the SARU Player of the Year Awards are an ideal place to do that.
“Supporters have strong opinions on who should win and this move is probably overdue. Now fans will be part of the selection process.”
Roux said that the fans’ vote would count for 50 percent of the final tally alongside the vote of the rugby media, who had exclusively decided on the winners in recent years. Fans and media will decide the marquee awards of Player of the Year; Young Player of the Year and Team of the Year Awards, as well as Springbok Sevens and SA Under-20 Players of the Year and SuperSport Try of the Year.