Pieter-Steph du Toit was named SA Rugby’s Player of the Year for 2016 at an awards ceremony held at the Gallagher Conference Centre in Midrand, Johannesburg on Monday night.
In doing so, he became the second Springbok lock in two seasons to earn the main award dedicated to the best rugby player from the country over the course of the year.
The 24-year-old Du Toit follows in the footsteps of Lood de Jager, who walked away with the accolade for the 2015 season, on a night where no fewer than eight of the winners were aged 25 or younger.
The Springbok and DHL Stormers lock fought off strong challenges for the top award from his middle row partner Eben Etzebeth, and a trio of Boks from the Emirates Lions, Ruan Combrinck, Jaco Kriel and Warren Whiteley.
The Golden Lions however did do exceptionally well at the Awards, with a total of five awards heading back to Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg.
The winners from Johannesburg are Malcolm Marx (Young Player of the Year), Elton Jantjies (Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Tournament), Jacques Nel (Supersport Try of the Year) and Johan Ackermann (Coach of the Year), while the ‘Pride of Jozi’, the Emirates Lions, was named Team of the Year after a superb showing in Vodacom Super Rugby.
The prestigious Players’ Player of the Year Award, presented by MyPlayers and voted for by the players themselves, went to Jean-Luc du Preez of the Cell C Sharks, who was on Saturday included in the Springbok tour squad for the Barbarians match in London set for early November.
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The winners in the three categories for national teams were Seabelo Senatla (Steinhoff Springbok Sevens Player of the Year), Curwin Bosch (Junior Springbok Player of the Year) and Marithy Pienaar (Springbok Women Player of the Year).
“To see so many young players step up and make their mark certainly bodes well for the future and I would like to congratulate all the winners, as well as those who were nominated,” said Mr Mark Alexander, Acting President of SA Rugby, according to the SARugby website.
“Many of the players who won awards this year, will thrill us for many years to come and I’m certainly excited to see what the future holds for them and South African rugby in its entirety.
“It was a challenging year for South African rugby in many respects, but there were still a lot of wonderful achievements worth celebrating and all the players who won awards tonight, fully deserve to walk away with the spoils,” he added.
SA Rugby Player of the Year: Pieter-Steph du Toit
Young Player of the Year: Malcolm Marx
Players’ Player of the Year, presented by MyPlayers: Jean-Luc du Preez (Cell C Sharks)
Team of the Year: Emirates Lions (Vodacom Super Rugby)
Coach of the Year: Johan Ackermann (Emirates Lions, Xerox Golden Lions)
Junior Springbok Player of the Year: Curwin Bosch
SA Sevens Player of the Year: Seabelo Senatla
Vodacom Super Rugby Player of Year: Elton Jantjies (Emirates Lions)
Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year: Ox Nche (Toyota Free State Cheetahs)
Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year: Masixole Banda (Border)
Supersport Try of the Year: Jacques Nel (Xerox Golden Lions v DHL Western Province, Currie Cup Premier Division)
Springbok Women’s Achiever Award: Marithy Pienaar