Cheetahs wing Rabz Maxwane and flyhalf Tian Schoeman were both honoured at the Pro14 awards ceremony in Dublin on Sunday night.
Maxwane walked away with the Top Try-Scorer Award after finishing the pool stages of the Pro14 season with an impressive 14 five-pointers – equalling the record set by Scotland wing Tim Visser.
The speedster also topped the standings with the most clean breaks, at 34, five more than Johnny McNicholl of Scarlets.
‘I am still gutted that I didn’t get what I set up for myself,’ Maxwane said of his record. ‘That is a bounce of the ball I suppose, the one moment you are lucky, and the next you aren’t. I am looking forward to working towards that again, but my goal was to be the top try-scorer, and I achieved that.’
Another three South Africans joined Maxwane among the top 10 try-scorers – Cheetahs captain Shaun Venter scored 10 tries, while the Kings’ duo of Bjorn Basson and Yaw Penxe each touched down eight times.
Meanwhile, Schoeman was named the Dacia Iron Man after playing an incredible 1564 minutes of rugby – the most by an individual in the competition this season.
Schoeman also boasts the bragging rights of being the fourth-highest points’ scorer in the 2018-19 season with 134 points, while the Southern Kings’ Masixole Banda was two places behind him on the table with 115 points.
‘It has been a long and tough season for the Cheetahs, but were are already looking forward to next season and the Currie Cup,’ Schoeman said.
‘It has been a good start for me at the Cheetahs, and I have been fortunate not to have any serious injuries, and I have been healthy to play in just about all of the matches.’
SA Rugby president Mark Alexander congratulated the two for their awards.
‘This a tough competition with top-class players, and for two players from our South African teams to be among the nine award winners is a fantastic achievement,’ Alexander said. ‘Their class and consistency this season was admirable, and we are all very proud of them.
‘It was also rewarding to see a handful of other Cheetahs and Southern Kings players finish among the top points and try-scorers in the competition. This certainly shows the quality of our players.’
Pro14 award winners:
Player’s Player of the Year – Bill Mata (Edinburgh)
Coach of the Season – Kieran Crowley (Benetton Treviso)
Golden Boot – Jaco van der Walt (Edinburgh)