Springbok and Stormers forward Pieter-Steph du Toit has been named SA Rugby Player of the Year for 2019, scooping the award for the third time in four years.
Du Toit capped off phenomenal 2019 season when he added the prestigious SA Rugby Player of the Year award to his World Rugby Player of the Year accolade.
Rassie Erasmus and the Springboks were also honoured for a brilliant 2019, when they won the Rugby World Cup and Rugby Championship, as well as the World Rugby Awards for Coach and Team of the Year, by walking away with the same awards in South Africa.
The 27-year-old Du Toit beat Damian de Allende, Cheslin Kolbe, Makazole Mapimpi and Duane Vermeulen to the top individual award in South African rugby.
In the process, the Springbok loose-forward became only the third player, behind Naas Botha and Bryan Habana, to take the title for a third time, after he also won it in 2016 and 2018.
Mark Alexander, president of SA Rugby, congratulated all the winners for their contribution to a memorable 2019 season in South Africa.
‘Pieter-Steph led the charge for the Springboks and he deserves this accolade to go with his World Player of the Year Award.
‘The 2019-season will be ingrained in our memories for decades to come, thanks to Rassie, Siya and the Springboks, but all our national teams did well and we are proud of all the winners.
‘At franchise and provincial level we also saw an upward surge which bodes well for the forthcoming season.
Other big winners from the Boks’ RWC squad included Herschel Jantjies (Young Player of the Year) and Handre Pollard (Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Year).
Springbok Sevens Player of the Year, Siviwe Soyizwapi, had a stellar year for the Blitzboks, finishing the 2018-19 season as leading try-scorer and playing in all 10 tournaments. He took over the captaincy from injured Philip Snyman halfway through the season and in that capacity lifted trophies in Vancouver and Singapore.
Junior Springbok Player of the Year, Jaden Hendrikse, was a key figure in the SA U20s’ 2019 World Rugby U20 Championship campaign in Argentina, with his accurate goal-kicking and play-making abilities earning him a regular place in the starting line-up. His consistently effective displays also earned him a nomination for the breakthrough player of the tournament award.
Aseza Hele (No 8), the Springbok Women’s Achiever of the Year, was a key figure for the national team with her powerful presence and hard running setting the field alight – skills that proved valuable in the team’s qualification for the 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
Livewire hooker Joseph Dweba was a standout for the Free State Cheetahs as they won the Currie Cup and was deservedly named Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year, while Cody Basson, tough-as-nails looseforward of the Griffons won the Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year Award.
Aimee Barrett-Theron was named the Referee of the Year. She took charge of six Test matches in 2019, which included the opening match of the Women’s Six Nations, where she will again be in action in February.
The Club Player of the Year was won for a record third time by the evergreen Leon du Plessis of Rustenburg Impala and Dylan Alexander of Western Province was the Craven Week Player of the Tournament for 2019.
In a new category, SA Wheelchair Rugby (SAWR) was named as the first recipient of the award for SA Rugby Associate Member of the Year.
All the winners and other nominees are:
SA Rugby Player of the Year: Pieter-Steph du Toit
Nominees: Damian de Allende, Cheslin Kolbe, Makazole Mapimpi, Duane Vermeulen.
SA Rugby Young Player of the Year: Herschel Jantjies
Nominees: Curwin Bosch, Sbu Nkosi, JJ van der Mescht, Damian Willemse.
Team of the Year: Springboks
Nominees: Toyota Free State Cheetahs, Springbok Sevens.
Coach of the Year: Rassie Erasmus
Nominees: Neil Powell, Franco Smith.
Junior Springbok Player of the Year: Jaden Hendrikse
Nominees: Phendulani Buthelezi, JJ van der Mescht.
Springbok Sevens Player of the Year: Siviwe Soyizwapi
Nominees: Kurt-Lee Arendse, Selvyn Davids, Werner Kok.
Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Tournament: Handre Pollard (Vodacom Bulls)
Nominees: Pieter-Steph du Toit (DHL Stormers), Duane Vermeulen (Bulls).
Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year: Joseph Dweba (Free State Cheetahs)
Nominees: Tyrone Green (Xerox Golden Lions), Ruan Pienaar (Free State Cheetahs).
Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year: Cody Basson (Down Touch Griffons)
Nominees: Athenkosi Mayinje (EP Elephants), Domingo Miotti (Jaguares XV), Robbie Petzer (Down Touch Griffons).
SuperSport Rugby Challenge Player of the Year: George Whitehead (Griquas)
Nominees: Jamba Ulengo (Toyota FS Cheetahs XV), Anthony Volmink (Griquas).
SA Rugby Associate Member of the Year: SA Wheelchair Rugby (SAWR)
Nominees: SA Deaf Rugby Association (SADRA), SA Rugby League Sporting Associations (SARLSA), SA Schools Rugby Association (SASRA).
Referee of the Year: Aimee Barrett-Theron
Springbok Women’s Achiever of the Year: Aseza Hele
Craven Week Player of the Tournament: Dylan Alexander (WP)
Club Player of the Year: Leon du Plessis (Rustenburg Impala)
Photo: World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images