Visagie the Player that Rocks
Pretoria - Stellenbosch captain Callie Visagie has been voted as the 2011 Varsity Cup Player that Rocks - an outstanding achievement considering that his team was knocked out before the semifinals and that he also missed the FNB Maties' final two league matches.
Visagie was the unanimous choice as Player of the Tournament according to the two voting polls - on the official Varsity Cup website and via the Rapport SMS line (making up 50% of the final vote) - and having also earned the approval of the majority of the Varsity Cup coaches and the tournament's Exco (together making up the other 50% of the vote).
The Maties hooker and skipper - who also boast provincial experience with Western Province - received his award after Monday's Varsity Cup Final between Tuks and UCT in Pretoria. He beat Tuks' Warwick Tecklenburg and UJ's Justin Wheeler to the top prize.
Visagie was joined on the Player that Rocks podium by Maties lock Hugo Kloppers (Forward that Rocks) and Shimlas scrumhalf Enrico Acker (Back that Rocks); the two having also dominated the numbers across the four voting categories.
Kloppers beat Eben Etzebeth (UCT) and Jaco Swanepoel (NMMU) to the Forward of the Tournament Award, whilst Acker edged out UCT star Marcel Brache and Tuks captain Wesley Dunlop as the Back of the Tournament.
"I said it a while ago - Callie Visagie has the potential and leadership qualities to play for the Springboks one day," said Varsity Cup MD Duitser Bosman in congratulating Visagie on his award.
"Well done, too, to Hugo and Enrico - it's a great achievement by both."
Bosman, meanwhile, also paid tribute to the Varsity Cup public for getting behind the 2011 Player that Rocks campaign; through the website and the SMS line.
He added: "Public voting - through our website and the SMS line - was up by 400%, which is a staggering number. Congratulations again to Callie, Hugo and Enrico and thanks to everyone for voting in what has been an exciting and transparent process throughout."
Twenty-two-year-old Visagie, who attended Paarl Boys' High School, has three years of Varsity Cup experience under his belt and it showed in his impressive performances this year - despite missing the Maties' final two pool matches against Tuks and UJ when he picked up a shoulder injury. Maties, of course, lost those two matches in his absence - showing just how much he meant to his team this season.
Kloppers, who captained the Maties team while Visagie was injured this season, has played for Stellenbosch in the Varsity Cup for the last three years and the 22-year-old was a standout player in this year's competition, as was the 20-year-old Acker, whose crisp service at scrumhalf helped Shimlas to another semifinal.