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BlitzBok bags Rookie of the Year award

NEWS: Springbok Sevens playmaker Ricardo Duarttee was named the Rookie of the Year at the annual World Rugby Sevens Series awards in London on Sunday.

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The winners in the men’s categories were announced at Twickenham as the 2023 World Series came to a close after 11 tournaments.

The awards recognise and celebrate the players and teams who have performed at the highest level across the season and produced the most memorable moments that thrilled and inspired fans around the globe.

The 25-year-old Duarttee, who made his BlitzBok debut in Dubai where South Africa won the tournament late last year, beat fellow nominees Theo Forner (France) and Joaquin Pellandini (Argentina) to the award for the player who has made their World Series debut in the current season and delivered an outstanding performance.

Duarttee played in a total of 52 matches, scoring 15 tries, 67 conversions and one penalty for an incredible 212 points in his debut season.

“It was a tough season for the BlitzNoks, with many injuries and disruptions, but the emergence of new players was good for the depth of the squad and Ricardo was one of those who was given an opportunity and grabbed it with both hands,” said SA Rugby President Mark Alexander.

“He epitomised what the BlitzBoks stand for with his passionate approach to the game and his ‘never-give-up’ attitude. Like his teammates, Ricardo often had to fight with his back to the wall, and although the results were not always what we wanted to see, we know they always gave 100 percent.

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“We are very proud of Ricardo for winning this award and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for him and the BlitzBoks and we know they will do everything in their power to get back to their previous highs.”

The 2023 award winners are:

Rookie of the Year: Ricardo Duarttee (South Africa)

Top Try-scorer: Vaa Apelu Maliko (Samoa)

Try of the Series: Rodrigo Isgro (Argentina) v Samoa in Los Angeles

Impact Player: Vaa Apelu Maliko (Samoa)

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Fair Play Award: Japan

Hotstepper Award: Akuila Rokolisoa (NZL) and Roderick Solo (NZL)

Dream Team: Rodrigo Isgro (Argentina), Leroy Carter (New Zealand), Marcos Moneta (Argentina), Akuila Rokolisoa (New Zealand), Vaa Apelu Maliko (Samoa), Luciano Gonzalez (Argentina), Henry Paterson (Australia).

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