Etzebeth bags top WP awards
Eben Etzebeth (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - The annual DHL WP trophy presentation was held at Kelvin Grove on Wednesday with the Western Province Rugby Football Union recognising all club performances within the union and also rewarding those professional players who have performed well in 2012.
The event was well attended on the night with the entire WP Currie Cup team in attendance - along with other key sponsors, junior players, club players and administrators.
The big winner on the night was WP & Stormers and Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth
, who was presented with the WP Forward of the Year Award and the WP Players' Player of the Year Award (the latter as voted for by his peers).
Etzebeth, who still qualifies to play Under-21 rugby this season, made his Bok debut after just 13 Super Rugby matches for the Stormers and has already played in eight Tests for his country - all before playing his first Currie Cup match for Western Province (which, coincidentally, was last week).
Record-breaking Springbok winger Bryan Habana
walked off with the WP Back of the Year, for his performances at Super Rugby level, whilst hooker Scarra Ntubeni, despite also still being eligible for the WP Under-21 team, was awarded the prize as the union's Most Promising Senior Player.
Forward Deon Fourie, having played at hooker, flank and No 8 this year - also captaining the Currie Cup team at times - was presented with the MVP Award for his efforts in 2012.
With both the Western Province U19 and U21 teams progressing to the semi-finals of their respective tournaments this season, there was a lot of talent to choose from in the Junior Awards categories.
Loose forward Justin Benn, who trained with the senior WP squad this year, picked up the WP U19 Best Forward Award, with centre Justin Geduld, also a stalwart in the log-topping WP U19 side, walking off with the Back of the Year prize. Prop Sti Sithole was a worthy recipient of the Most Promising U19 Player Award.
In the Under-21 category, try-scoring ace Devon Williams, despite missing a large chunk of the season due to injury, was a popular choice as the WP U21 Best Back, with vice-captain Francois van Wyk being rewarded for his consistency up front as the WP U21 Forward of the Year.
Flank Josh Katzen came from nowhere this year to establish himself in the WP U21 set-up and he deservedly walked off with the WP U21 Most Promising Player Award.
Tygerberg's Alconroy Botha was recognised as the Clubs' Player of the Year, with the Maties lifting the Grand Challenge trophy as SLA champions, whilst Chantel Sieckers walked away with the WP Womens Player of the Year Award.
In all, 40 club teams received trophies, mentions or recognitions on the night - including Durbanville/Bellville (WP's qualifying team at the National Club Championships) - and record-breaking referee Jonathan Kaplan
was handed the Referee of the Year Award.
Thelo Wakefield, the WPRFU President, congratulated all the award recipients on the night. "Well done to all the winners - it was great to be able to pay tribute to everyone, from the clubs right up to those players in the professional ranks.
"The future of rugby in our province is bright; tonight's awards are testament to what is being done to ensure that WP Rugby remains top across all levels."
Between them, the five professional WP teams - Under-19, Under-21, Vodacom Cup, Currie Cup and Super Rugby - have played 61 matches in 2012 (thus far), boasting an overall win percentage of 77% for the union.
WP Rugby has picked up eight trophies already in 2012 - Super Rugby Conference Trophy, Vodacom Cup, schoolboy and girls, Womens rugby, etc - with another three up for grabs in the next fortnight as the WP Under-19, Under-21 and senior sides all gear up for their respective provincial semi-finals this weekend.
WP and Stormers head coach Allister Coetzee
commented: "The year is by no means over, and we would certainly like to end it on a high. However, tonight was about rewarding all our players for their efforts thus far - at professional and club level.
"The structures are in place through the ranks and rugby in the province is strong and healthy. Congratulations to all of the winners here tonight and thanks, once again, to all our supporters and sponsors."All the individual award winners:
WP Womens Player of the Year: Chantel Sieckers
WP Under-19 Best Forward: Justin Benn
WP U19 Best Back: Justin Geduld
WP Most Promising U19 Player: Sti Sithole
WP Under-21 Best Forward: Francois van Wyk
WP U21 Best Back: Devon Williams
WP Most Promising U21 Player: Player Josh Katzen
WP Best Forward: Eben Etzebeth
WP Best Back: Bryan Habana
WP Most Promising Senior Player: Scarra Ntubeni
Clubs' Player of the Year: Alconroy Botha
adidas MVP Award: Deon Fourie
WP Players' Player of the Year: Eben Etzebeth