The Vodacom United Rugby Championship is set for a thrilling conclusion in the next few weeks as the competition reaches the playoff stages, with three South African teams in contention for the inaugural title, while 10 individual award winners are set to be revealed before the grand finale on Saturday, 18 June.
The 10 prizes up for grabs include the Tackle Machine, Gilbert Golden Boot, Top Try Scorer and Players’ Player of the Season, along with places in the end-of-season Dream Team.
A few South African players are set to be in the mix with DHL Stormers wing Leolin Zas topping the try-scorers list (11 tries), while his team-mate Manie Libbok (flyhalf) is the leading point scorer (148 points).
While some of the awards will be determined by Vodacom URC StatMaster data provided by Oval Insights, others will be voted on by a panel of media representatives from all five territories involved in the competition.
The Vodacom URC Players’ Player of the Season and Loch Lomond Coach of the Season will be voted for by the coach, captain and vice-captain of each team respectively.
The winners will be revealed via online announcements during the Vodacom URC play-offs, with three prizes set to be handed out in the build-up to the quarter-finals, which will play out next weekend.
The Top Try Scorer, Ironman, Dream Team, Next-Gen Star and Vodacom Fans’ Player of the Season will be announced in the week of the semi-final, while the Players’ Player of the Season and Loch Lomond Coach of the Season will round off the individual awards in the build-up to the Grand Final.
The full list of the awards on offer are as follows:
Tackle Machine (Tuesday, 31 May)
Players who have made 150 or more tackles during the regular season will be eligible for the award, with the individual who boasts the highest accuracy taking home the prize.
Turnover King (Tuesday, 31 May)
This award will go to the player who has won the most turnovers during the regular season, with jackal turnovers used as the tie-breaker.
Gilbert Golden Boot (Wednesday, 1 June)
The Gilbert Golden Boot is awarded in recognition of the most accurate place-kicker, with all kickers who have attempted a minimum of 30, ranked by their success percentage.
Top Try Scorer (Monday, 6 June)
Awarded to the player who has scored the most tries during the regular season.
Ironman (Monday, 6 June)
The Ironman award is given to the player who has racked up the most minutes in the regular season.
Dream Team (Tuesday, 7 June)
The Dream Team will be determined by a media vote. Players must have made nine appearances to be considered, with the media panel provided a shortlist of 10 per position by URC StatMaster. The player with the most votes in each position earns a place in the team.
Next-Gen Star of the Season (Wednesday, 8 June)
This award is open to players who were aged under 23 at the beginning of the season and had earned no more than five international caps at that point. This award will also be determined by a media vote and the nine-appearance threshold also applies. The objective of this award is to recognise young up-and-coming talent.
Vodacom Fans’ Player of the Season (Thursday, 9 June)
The prize for the Vodacom Fans Player of the Season will be voted for by rugby fans around the world. Click here to vote.
Loch Lomond Coach of the Season (Tuesday, 14 June)
The prize for the Vodacom URC’s top coach will be voted for by all 16 head coaches in the competition.
Players’ Player of the Season (Wednesday, 15 June)
This prestigious award will be voted on by URC captains and vice-captains, with all nominees again required to have made a minimum of nine appearances.