SARU hails Blitzbok Afrika
Cape Town - The South African Rugby Union (SARU) has congratulated Springbok Sevens player Cecil Afrika on capturing the IRB Sevens Player of the Year Award for the 2010/11 season.
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Afrika received his award earlier on Monday at a glittering ceremony at Vector Arena in Auckland, which also marked the 125th anniversary of the International Rugby Board.
The slightly built Springbok Sevens pivot was the outstanding player from the 2010/11 HSBC Sevens World Series and finished as the top try and point scorer.
South Africa’s inspirational playmaker and sweeper, Afrika scored 40 tries and 385 points across seven events, returning from injury in double quick time to inspire the Blitzbokke to Cup success in Las Vegas, and was also key in their victories in London and Scotland.
According to SARU President, Oregan Hoskins, Afrika epitomises the spirit and determination of a rugby player. “He has a never-say-die attitude that rubs off on his team-mates and it was great to see how he inspired them to capture three tournament titles last season.
“This prestigious accolade is well deserved and I want to wish Cecil and the Springbok Sevens all of the best for the upcoming HSBC Sevens World Series,” said Hoskins.
The 23-year old dedicated his award to his team mates: “I am extremely proud of the award but I view it as an accolade for the team. My team-mates, the coach and management all worked very hard and we endure the joy and pain together. The Springbok Sevens team is one huge family and I want to thank them for their continuous support and encouragement.”
Springbok Sevens coach, Paul Treu, also had high praise for his attacking star.
“Cecil is an outstanding playmaker and his best attribute as a rugby player is probably his ability to maintain the same level of consistency throughout the season. The team struggled without him in Wellington when he was out due to a broken jaw, but he quickly bounced back to make a telling contribution in Las Vegas, where we won our first tournament of the season. He was also instrumental in our Cup wins in London and Edinburgh,” added Treu.
“He works extremely hard during training and he really puts his body on the line for the team. Apart from his excellent kicking skills and attacking instincts, I also think that defence is one of his key strengths. He was not a first choice for the team three years ago. In fact, such was his desire to succeed that he trained with us for a full season without a contract, so that he could establish himself in the team.
“What he has achieved since then is just incredible and his rise through the ranks from a very humble childhood in Port Elizabeth to a star performer on the world stage is just an incredible and inspiring story,” said Treu.
The Springbok Sevens will announce their full training squad for the upcoming season during next week. Afrika is recovering from a facial injury and he will hopefully be ready for action when the Nelson Mandela Bay South Africa Sevens tournament takes place on 9-10 December in Port Elizabeth.