Cape Town - Springbok and Lions hooker Malcolm Marx leads the nominations for the SA Rugby Player of the Year 2017 awards with three, closely followed by four players who bagged two nominations each.
The 23-year-old Marx is nominated in the top category, SA Rugby Player of the Year, as well as for Young Player and Super Rugby Player of the Year.
Marx’s fellow-nominees for SA Rugby Player of the Year are Springbok captain Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Jaco Kriel and Jan Serfontein, all of whom were in impressive form not only for the Boks, but also for their Super Rugby franchises earlier in the season.
The four players nominated in two categories are Jaco Kriel (SA Rugby and Super Rugby Player of the Year), Warrick Gelant (Young Player and Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year), as well as Curwin Bosch and Damian Willemse, both of whom are nominated in the categories for Young Player and Junior Springbok Player of the Year.
“Four of these five players are aged 23 and younger, which bodes very well for the future of the game here in South Africa,” said SA Rugby President, Mark Alexander.
“I would like to congratulate Malcolm, Jaco, Warrick, Curwin and Damian on their multiple nominations, as well as all the other players, coaches and teams who were recognised for their performances in 2017.”
The awards for Coach and Team of the Year are a straight shoot-out between three sides and their coaches - the Springbok Sevens team and Neil Powell, the Lions and Johan Ackermann, and Western Province and John Dobson.
Powell led the Blitzboks to the World Rugby Sevens Series crown in 2016/17 and the team won a total of five tournaments; Ackermann’s Lions finished at the top of the Super Rugby standings and were runners-up in the competition; and Dobson coached Western Province to titles in the Currie Cup Premier Division and the new SuperSport Rugby Challenge.
Juarno Augustus, who was already crowned the World Rugby Under-20 Championship Player of the Tournament in June, is up against his SA Under-20 team-mates Bosch and Willemse for the Junior Springbok Player of the Year award.
And the three Blitzboks who are nominated for the Springbok Sevens Player of the Year award are Rosko Specman - one of the three candidates for the World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year Award for 2017 - Werner Kok and Chris Dry.
Other categories where awards will be made are: SuperSport Try of the Year, Craven Week Player of the Tournament, Referee of the Year and Springbok Women’s Achiever of the Year, while Graham Knoop of False Bay was already named Club Player of the Year after the Gold Cup final last month.
The names of the winners will be announced early in the new season next year.
The nominees are (in alphabetical order):
SA Rugby Player of the Year
SA Rugby Young Player of the Year
Jean-Luc du Preez
Team of the Year
Lions (Super Rugby runners-up)
Springbok Sevens (World Rugby Sevens Series winners)
Western Province (Currie Cup Premier Division and Supersport Rugby Challenge winners)
Coach of the Year
Johan Ackermann (Lions)
John Dobson (Western Province)
Neil Powell (Springbok Sevens)
Springbok Sevens Player of the Year
Junior Springbok Player of the Year
Super Rugby Player of the Tournament
Jaco Kriel (Lions)
Malcolm Marx (Lions)
Franco Mostert (Lions)
Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year
Nizaam Carr (Western Province)
Robert du Preez (Western Province)
Warrick Gelant (Blue Bulls)
Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year
Jaun Kotze (Griffons)
Tertius Maarman (Griffons)
Jeandré Rudolph (Leopards)
SuperSport Rugby Challenge Player of the Year
Craig Barry (Western Province)
Enver Brandt (Griquas)
Shaun Reynolds (Golden Lions XV)