• Hendricks, Vermeulen up for Players’ Choice Awards

    Vodacom Bulls duo Cornal Hendricks and Duane Vermeulen are among the 18 players nominated by MyPlayers for accolades in their annual Players’ Choice Awards for 2020.

    Vermeulen and Hendricks, who helped the Bulls win the Super Rugby Unlocked and Currie Cup double, are up against Curwin Bosch and Frans Steyn for the top honour – the Players’ Player of the Year award.

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    A bunch of exciting new prospects also made the list of nominees after a season where South Africa’s top players were forced to face a new opponent in the guise of Covid-19.

    As always, the winners in the six different categories will be decided by the players and the winners announced during an awards ceremony that will soon by pinned to the 2021 rugby calendar.

    John Smit, former RWC-winning Springbok captain, MyPlayers board member and the recipient of the 2005 Players’ Player of the Year award, says the recent season was a tough one in many respects.

    ‘Nothing about 2020 was ideal or perfect – every week presented new challenges to players’ fitness, health, performance and mental welfare,’ Smit said.

    ‘To be nominated in one of the six categories suggests so much more about these players than just an acknowledgement of their talent and abilities. It also recognises character and mental fortitude in the most uncertain and disruptive season that most professional rugby players have ever been exposed to.’

    The nominees are:

    Defender of the Year
    Jeandré Rudolph (Toyota Cheetahs)
    Andisa Ntsila (Toyota Cheetahs)
    Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers/Western Province)
    Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks)

    Best off the bench
    Morné van den Berg (Emirates/Xerox Lions)
    Thembelani Bholi (Cell C Sharks)
    Arno Botha (Vodacom Bulls)
    Sintu Manjezi (Vodacom Bulls)

    Forward Player of the Year
    Duane Vermeulen (Vodacom Bulls)
    Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers/Western Province)
    Jeandré Rudolph (Toyota Cheetahs)
    Marco van Staden (Vodacom Bulls)

    Backline Player of the Year
    Cornal Hendricks (Vodacom Bulls)
    Frans Steyn (Toyota Cheetahs)
    Curwin Bosch (Cell C Sharks)
    Wandisile Simelane (Emirates/Xerox Lions)

    Most Improved Player Award
    Stedman Gans (Vodacom Bulls)
    Tiaan Swanepoel (Emirates/Xerox Lions)
    Dylan Richardson (Cell C Sharks)
    Vincent Tshituka (Emirates/Xerox Lions)

    Players’ Player of the Year
    Duane Vermeulen (Vodacom Bulls)
    Frans Steyn (Toyota Cheetahs)
    Cornal Hendricks (Vodacom Bulls)
    Curwin Bosch (Cell C Sharks)

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    Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

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    Dylan Jack