Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber, along with lock Eben Etzebeth and flyhalf Manie Libbok, are among a top-class list of nominees for the 2023 World Rugby awards.
Nienaber is in line for the Coach of the Year award, while Etzebeth and Libbok have been nominated in the categories of Player of the Year and Breakthrough Player of the Year, respectively. Etzebeth was also selected for the World Rugby 15s Dream Team.
Nienaber, with Ireland’s Andy Farrell, New Zealand’s Ian Foster and Fiji’s Simon Raiwalui, is on the shortlist for the coaches’ accolade.
Etzebeth and All Blacks No 8 Ardie Savea are joined by France captain Antoine Dupont and Ireland centre Bundee Aki as the nominees for Player of the Year.
France and Ireland lost in the World Cup quarter-finals to the Springboks and All Blacks respectively.
Ireland flanker Josh van der Flier won the award last year, with scrumhalf Dupont claiming the prize in 2021.
Libbok features on an exciting list of nominees for Breakthrough Player of the Year along with Louis Bielle-Biarrey (France wing), Mark Tele’a and Tamaiti Williams (New Zealand wing and prop respectively).
“We would like to congratulate Jacques, Eben and Manie for being nominated for these prestigious awards and we wish them luck for the awards ceremony,” said SA Rugby president Mark Alexander.
“These awards recognise the best coaches and players in the world, and to have nominees in three categories is a testament to the class of our coaches and players in South Africa.
“I would also like to use this opportunity wish the Springboks good luck for the Rugby World Cup final against New Zealand on Saturday at the Stade de France. It is a massive honour to represent your country on the biggest stage in world rugby and everyone at SA Rugby and the entire nation is behind you. We have full faith in you to continue giving the country hope and putting smiles on people’s faces.”
The winner of the award, as well as 10 other categories, will be announced in a ceremony in Paris on Sunday.
“All those nominated today deserve not only our congratulations but also our thanks for everything they have contributed, on and off the field, to inspire fans and players worldwide, driving rugby forward in 2023 in line with our sport’s values,” World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said in a statement on Thursday.
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