South Africa's Player of the Year for 2022 revealed
NEWS: Springbok centurion Eben Etzebeth has been voted SA Rugby’s Player of the Year for 2022 following a string of excellent performances by the experienced lock last year.
There is also a spotlight on Canan Moodie, who won the Young Player of the Year award and Nadine Roos was named Springbok Women’s Player of the Year.
The 31-year-old Etzebeth, who made his Test debut in 2012 and reached his 100th Test against Wales in July earned the award for the first time after narrowly losing out to Springbok captain Siya Kolisi in 2021, but last season the towering lock was a constant star in the green and gold, along with fellow nominees for the top award in Kolisi, Lukhanyo Am, Kurt-Lee Arendse and Frans Malherbe.
Moodie, who celebrated his Springbok debut last year with a superb try against Australia in Sydney while still an Under-20, was voted as the Young Player of the Year. He was nominated ahead of Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu, Jaden Hendrikse, Evan Roos and Henco van Wyk, underlining the rich vein of talent coming through in South Africa.
Nadine Roos highlighted her versatility in 2022 as she shone for both the national XVs and Sevens teams in two Rugby World Cup tournaments, and she was rewarded for her brilliant form by being included in the World Rugby Dream Team after the RWC Sevens in Cape Town in September.
The other nominees were 2021 winner, Lusanda Dumke (flank), as well as No.8 Aseza Hele, who won the award in 2019, as well as midfield stars Zintle Mpupha and Aphiwe Ngwevu.
Hard-working forward JC Pretorius won the award for Springbok Sevens Player of the Year during a season in which the BlitzBoks won four tournaments and just missed out on the World Rugby Sevens Series title. The other nominees were Selvyn Davids and Zain Davids.
Feinberg-Mngomezulu, who led the SA Under-20s to a clean sweep of four wins in the Six Nations U20 Series in Italy, was named Junior Springbok Player of the Year, edging out teammates Suleiman Hartzenberg and Ruan Venter.
The Stormers, who won the inaugural United Rugby Championship, were voted as the Team of the Year, with John Dobson duly taking the award for Coach of the Year (Evan Roos was named URC Player of the Season last year June).
The other nominees in these two categories were the Springboks and Jacques Nienaber, and the Pumas and Jimmy Stonehouse.
The Pumas’ triumph in the Currie Cup was reflected in the award for Player of the Year, which was won by Sebastian de Klerk, who scored eight tries from outside centre during the season as the Lowvelders won the title from fourth spot on the log. He edged out provincial teammates Willie Engelbrecht and Devon Williams for the title.
The award for First Division Player of the Year was won by Griffons scrumhalf Jaywinn Juries, who contributed a massive 169 points to the Northern Free Staters’ cause during the season which saw them not only win the competition, but also earn promotion to the Currie Cup at the end of the season.
Dumke, who led the Border to a second successive Women’s Premier Division title, won the award for Provincial Women’s Player of the Year.
The Referee of the Year, for a second successive season, is Aimee Barrett-Theron, who represented South Africa at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. Barrett-Theron also made her debut in the URC, establishing her as one of the foremost women’s referees in the world.
Mark Alexander, President of SA Rugby, congratulated the winners and applauded their achievements during a busy 2022 season.
“Eben has been a Springbok stalwart for more than a decade and it’s just amazing to see how he keeps getting better with age, playing with maturity and providing valuable leadership to the Springboks,” said Alexander.
“The Boks are building on depth and experience with an eye on the Rugby World Cup later this year, and I think they are in a good space under the coaching of Jacques Nienaber and the captaincy of Siya, but Eben’s role can’t be underestimated as he is not only the most experienced member of the squad, but he also sets the example for younger players and was widely regarded as one of the best players on the planet last year.
“Looking at the quality of young talent coming through, Canan was deservedly voted as the Young Player of the Year, but the other names of the list of nominees are all expected to still make a major mark on South African rugby, which bodes very well for the future.
“The winners in the other categories for our national teams, Nadine, JC and Sacha, all deserve these accolades after superb performances during the season. Starring in XVs and sevens takes some doing and Nadine never missed a beat; JC was a constant star for the BlitzBoks; and Sacha is another one of the upcoming crop of future stars.
“I would also like to congratulate John and the Stormers on their magnificent achievement in winning the URC, as well as Sebastian, Jaywinn and Lusanda for leading the way in our very tough provincial competitions.
“The new year is already in full swing, but there is still a lot of rugby to be played and all eyes will be on France in September and October when the Boks defend the Webb Ellis Cup. I would like to congratulate every winner on their awards and wish them well for the next year, but I would also like to thank all the players, young and old, their coaches and team management, match officials, administrators, all our loyal sponsors and all other role players for making 2022 a season to remember.”
The winners and finalists (where applicable) for 2022 are:
SA Rugby Player of the Year: Eben Etzebeth
Finalists: Lukhanyo Am, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Siya Kolisi, Frans Malherbe
SA Rugby Young Player of the Year: Canan Moodie (Springboks / Bulls)
Finalists: Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu (Junior Springboks / South Africa ‘A’ / Stormers), Jaden Hendrikse (Springboks / Sharks), Evan Roos (Springboks / Stormers), Henco van Wyk (South Africa ‘A’ / Lions)
Springbok Women’s Player of the Year: Nadine Roos
Finalists: Lusanda Dumke, Aseza Hele, Zintle Mpupha, Aphiwe Ngwevu
Springbok Sevens Player of the Year: JC Pretorius
Finalists: Selvyn Davids, Zain Davids
Junior Springbok Player of the Year: Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu
Finalists: Suleiman Hartzenberg, Ruan Venter
Team of the Year: Stormers
Finalists: Pumas, Springboks
Coach of the Year: John Dobson (Stormers)
Finalists: Jacques Nienaber (Springboks), Jimmy Stonehouse (Pumas)
Currie Cup Player of the Year: Sebastian de Klerk (Pumas)
Finalists: Willie Engelbrecht (Pumas), Devon Williams (Pumas)
First Division Player of the Year: Jaywinn Juries (Griffons)
Finalists: Jaiden Baron (Boland Kavaliers), Duan Pretorius (Griffons)
Provincial Women’s Player of the Year: Lusanda Dumke (Border)
Referee of the Year: Aimee Barrett-Theron
United Rugby Championship Player of the Season (announced last year): Evan Roos (Stormers)
Finalists: Lukhanyo Am (Sharks), Marcell Coetzee (Bulls), Warrick Gelant (Stormers), Ruan Nortje (Bulls), Vincent Tshituka