JOHANNESBURG— Some years there could be a number of people deserving of accolades such as Rugby Player of the Year or Coach of the Year, or a number of teams that could justifiably be named Team of the Year. In 2017, those worthy of such awards stand out above the rest. Malcolm Marx, Neil Powell and the Springbok Sevens enjoyed seasons that were so fundamentally better than their fellow nominees that few would argue that their awards are misplaced. Even among the much maligned members of the rugby fraternity – referees – Jaco Peyper had a better season than most. As the congratulations are dished out for 2017, there’s a reminder that Marx is still a youngster and has many more years in rugby, as he becomes only the second person to win Player and Young Player of the Year in the same season. – David O’Sullivan
From SA Rugby
Springbok hooker Malcolm Marx was rewarded with three awards following a sublime season in 2017, including being named the SA Rugby Player of the Year.
The 23-year-old star from the Emirates Lions was also named the SA Rugby Young Player (U23) and Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Year for 2017.
Marx, who retained the Young Player of the Year award he won in 2016, is the first player since Ashwin Willemse in 2003 to win the prestigious SA Rugby Player and Young Player of the Year Awards in the same season.
“This is a magnificent achievement for Malcolm and on behalf of the entire South African rugby fraternity, I would like to congratulate him on a superb season,” said SA Rugby President, Mr Mark Alexander.
“Malcolm was a rock for both the Springboks and the Emirates Lions and at only 23 I’m sure he will still go on to accomplish big things in our game.”
Malcolm Marx cleaning up with SA Rugby's big prizes. It's the least surprising news of the day – he's the one Bok who would command a place in any self-respecting World XV.
— Clinton van der Berg (@ClintonV) February 9, 2018
The Springbok Sevens team and their coach, Neil Powell, were also rewarded for a sterling season in which they won the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series by winning the awards for Team and Coach of the Year. The fleet-footed Rosko Specman was named Springbok Sevens Player of the Year.
“Neil and his band of Blitzbok brothers made us all very proud last year and these awards are very well deserved,” said Mr Alexander.
Juarno Augustus, who was named the World Rugby U20 Championship Player of the Tournament last June, won the award for Junior Springbok Player of the Year.
Recently-capped Springbok Warrick Gelant, who also represented the Blitzboks and Junior Springboks earlier in his career, was the Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year, and the Down Touch Griffons’ Jaun Kotze won the accolade for the First Division.
Springbok Sevens also dominate at SA Rugby Awards – TEAM of the Year, coach Neil Powell named Coach of the Year and Rosko Specman named Sevens Player of the Year! @Neil5Powell @speckmagic11 @ASICS_ZA @WorldRugby7s pic.twitter.com/Bss4oy0Aij
— South African Rugby (@Springboks) February 9, 2018
Craig Barry from DHL Western Province, who is currently playing for the Toyota Cheetahs in the Guinness PRO14, was named Supersport Challenge Player of the Year, and Babalwa Latsha, also from WP, won the Women’s Achiever of the Year award.
Jaco Peyper, who refereed the first Test between the All Blacks and the British & Irish Lions, as well as the Vodacom Super Rugby and the Currie Cup Premier Division finals, was named the Outsurance Referee of the Year.
“Well done to all the winners on their achievements in 2017. Judging by these performances, and the fact that we’re busy turning the corner, I can’t wait for this year’s action,” said Mr Alexander.
All the winners are:
SA Rugby Player of the Year: Malcolm Marx
Other nominees: Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Jaco Kriel, Jan Serfontein
SA Rugby Young Player of the Year: Malcolm Marx
Other nominees: Curwin Bosch, Jean-Luc du Preez, Warrick Gelant, Damian Willemse
Team of the Year: Springbok Sevens
Other nominees: Emirates Lions, DHL Western Province
Coach of the Year: Neil Powell
Other nominees: Johan Ackermann, John Dobson
Springbok Sevens Player of the Year: Rosko Specman
Other nominees: Chris Dry, Werner Kok
Junior Springbok Player of the Year: Juarno Augustus
Other nominees: Curwin Bosch, Damian Willemse
Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Tournament: Malcolm Marx (Emirates Lions)
Other nominees: Jaco Kriel, Franco Mostert (both Emirates Lions)
Cup Premier Division Player of the Year: Warrick Gelant (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
Other nominees: Nizaam Carr, Robert du Preez (both DHL Western Province)
Cup First Division Player of the Year: Jaun Kotze (Down Touch Griffons)
Other nominees: Tertius Maarman (Down Touch Griffons), Jeandre Rudolph (Leopards)
SuperSport Rugby Challenge Player of the Year: Craig Barry (DHL Western Province)
Other nominees: Enver Brandt (Tafel Lager Griquas), Shaun Reynolds (Xerox Golden Lions XV)
Coca-Cola Craven Week Player of the Tournament
Sanele Nohamba (KwaZulu-Natal)
Outsurance Referee of the Year
Women’s Achiever of the Year
Babalwa Latsha (Western Province)