Duane Vermeulen walked off with three awards, including the main award of the season at the Annual South African Rugby Union Player of the Year Awards last night
Vermeulen was named SARU Rugby Player of the Year, SARPA Players’ Player of the Year and also the Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Year for 2014. The accolades served as a validation of the Stomer’s surprising decision to choose the 28-year-old as captain the WP franchise in 2015.
In his acceptance speech Vermeulen visibly choked up as he remembered his farther who passed away when he was a mere 8 years old. But it was the standing ovation that helped make the moment even more special.
Springbok flyhalf and Junior Springbok captain Handré Pollard was named Young Player and SA Under-20 Player of the Year after some epoch-making performances for the Boks and during the Junior World Championship in New Zealand.
Seabelo Senatla and Fundiswa Plaatjie had to accept the awards for Springbok Sevens and Women’s Players of the Year in absentia, because of their participation in two Sevens tournaments in New Zealand and Brazil this weekend.
The sublime solo-effort against the Crusaders in a highly-entertaining Super Rugby Match in Bloemfontein secured Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje an award for the scorer of the Supersport Try of the Year for 2014
The manner in which Johan Ackermann galvanized the Golden Lions, a team with no big names, all the way towards a Currie Cup Final clinched the award for Coach of the Year.
Western Province walked away with the award for Team of the Year for their superb Currie Cup Premier Division campaign.
The winners and finalists (where applicable) in all the categories for 2014 are:
SARU Rugby Player of the Year: Duane Vermeulen
Finalists: Nizaam Carr, Marcell Coetzee, Willie le Roux, Handré Pollard
Young Player of the Year: Handré Pollard
Finalists: Nizaam Carr, Cheslin Kolbe, Seabelo Senatla, Jan Serfontein
SARPA Players’ Player of the Year: Duane Vermeulen (Stormers, Springboks)
Springbok Sevens Player of the Year: Seabelo Senatla
Finalists: Branco du Preez, Frankie Horne
SA Under-20 Player of the Year: Handré Pollard
Finalists: Thomas du Toit, Jesse Kriel
Team of the Year: Western Province (Currie Cup)
Finalists: Springboks, Junior Springboks, Springbok Sevens, Xerox Golden Lions (Currie Cup)
Coach of the Year: Johann Ackermann (Golden Lions)
Finalists: Allister Coetzee (Stormers & Western Province), Neil Powell (Springbok Sevens)
Super Rugby Player of Year: Duane Vermeulen (Stormers)
Finalists: Marcell Coetzee (Cell C Sharks), Warren Whiteley (Lions)
Vodacom Cup Player of the Year: Renaldo Bothma (Pumas)
Finalists: Jonathan Francke (GWK Griquas), Lizo Gqoboka (EP Kings)
Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year: Nizaam Carr (Western Province)
Finalists: Juan de Jongh (Western Province), Jaco Kriel (Golden Lions)
Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year: Boela Abrahams (Griffons)
Finalists: Sylvian Mahuza (Leopards), Dillon Smit (Leopards)
Try of the Year: Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje (Toyota Cheetahs v Crusaders, Vodacom Super Rugby)
Finalists: Cornal Hendricks (Cheetahs v Blues, Super Rugby), Nathan Nel (UCT v Pukke, Varsity Cup Final), Seabelo Senatla (Western Province v Blue Bulls, Currie Cup), Juan de Jongh (Western Province v Blue Bulls, Currie Cup) and Corné Fourie (Lions v Cheetahs, Super Rugby)
Referee Award: Craig Joubert
Women’s Achiever of the Year: Fundiswa Plaatjie
Cell C Community Cup Player of the Tournament: Michael Nienaber (Rustenburg Impala)
Coca-Cola Craven Week Player of the Tournament: Curwin Bosch (Eastern Province)