Springbok wing Canan Moodie also did the double by again walking away with the Young Player of the Year Award, while Libbie Janse van Rensburg cleaned up in the women’s categories by being named Springbok Women and Provincial Player of the Year for 2023.

The 32-year-old Etzebeth, who made his Test debut in 2012 and was nominated for World Player of the Year last year, won the main gong in South Africa for a second successive time after consistently high levels of performances in the green and gold as the Springboks lifted the Webb Ellis Cup for a second time in a row in France last October.

The other finalists were Pieter-Steph du Toit, the first player to win back-to-back awards in 2018 and 2019, as well as Springbok captain Siya Kolisi, Frans Malherbe and Damian Willemse.

Janse van Rensburg – the highest international points’ scorer in the history of South African rugby – featured for the Springbok Women in both 15s and sevens last year, and spearheaded the Bulls Daisies’ challenge to win the Women’s Premier Division.

The other nominees were former winners Nadine Roos (2022), Aseza Hele (2019), and Babalwa Latsha (2017), as well as Rights Mkhari, herself an international in 15s and sevens rugby.

Moodie was voted as the Young Player of the Year for a second successive season after another year of stand-out performances for the Springboks and the Vodacom Bulls, beating challenges from his fellow Boks in Jaden Hendrikse and Evan Roos, as well as Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu and Ruan Venter.

Following their triumph in France, Jacques Nienaber and the Springboks won the awards for Coach and Team of the Year, while Ricardo Duarttee was named Springbok Men’s Sevens Player of the Year, and Corne Beets the Junior Springbok Player of the Year.

In a new category, voted for by supporters on social media, Cheslin Kolbe won the SuperSport Fans’ Moment of the Year award for his charge-down of a Thomas Ramos conversion in the RWC quarter-final, a match the Boks won by 29-28 against the hosts in Paris.

Manie Libbok (DHL Stormers – Vodacom URC Fans’ Player of the Season), Ruan Pienaar (Cheetahs – Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year) and Cameron Hufke (Boland Kavaliers – Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year) also walked away with awards on the night for their performances at franchise and provincial level.

The award for Associate Member of the Year was re-introduced in 2023 and the SA Deaf Rugby Association (SADRA) were named the deserved winners. South Africa finished fourth in the World Deaf Rugby Championship in Argentina and after an internal audit, SADRA was judged to be well-governed and growing their footprint in South Africa.

SA Rugby Awards 2023 winners and finalists (where applicable):
SA Rugby Men’s Player of the Year: Eben Etzebeth
Finalists: Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi, Frans Malherbe, Damian Willemse

Springbok Women’s Player of the Year: Libbie Janse van Rensburg
Finalists: Aseza Hele, Babalwa Latsha, Rights Mkhari, Nadine Roos

SA Rugby Young Player of the Year: Canan Moodie (Springboks / Vodacom Bulls)
Finalists: Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu (DHL Stormers), Jaden Hendrikse (Springboks / Cell C Sharks), Evan Roos (Springboks / DHL Stormers), Ruan Venter (Emirates Lions)

Springbok Sevens Men’s Player of the Year: Ricardo Duarttee
Finalists: Christie Grobbelaar, Shilton van Wyk

Junior Springbok Player of the Year: Corne Beets
Finalists: Paul de Villiers, Damian Markus

Team of the Year: Springboks
Finalists: Toyota Cheetahs, DHL Stormers

Coach of the Year: Jacques Nienaber (Springboks)
Finalists: Hawies Fourie (Toyota Cheetahs), John Dobson (DHL Stormers)

Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year: Ruan Pienaar (Toyota Cheetahs)
Finalists: Tinus de Beer (Airlink Pumas), Devon Williams (Airlink Pumas)

Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year: Cameron Hufke (Boland Kavaliers)
Finalists: Keagan Fortune (Valke), Darian Hock (Boland Kavaliers)

Fans’ Moment of the Year: Cheslin Kolbe
Finalists: Bongi Mbonambi, Manie Libbok, Damian Willemse

Provincial Women’s Player of the Year: Libbie Janse van Rensburg (Bulls Daisies)

Referee of the Year: Jaco Peyper

Vodacom United Rugby Championship Fans’ Player of the Season (announced last year): Manie Libbok (DHL Stormers)

SA Rugby Associate Member of the Year: SA Deaf Rugby Association

Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images