Rugby scores big at South African Sports Awards

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Rugby enjoyed a stellar night at the South African Sports Awards in Durban on Saturday, collecting five titles – in the Team, Coach, Player, Federation and People’s Choice categories – to underline a period in which the Springboks claimed the title of world champions and won a pandemic-ravaged Castle Lager Lions Series.

SA Rugby was named Sports Federation of the Year, the Springboks were named Team of the Year while individual awards were collected by Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus (Coach of the Year), Springbok speedster Makazole Mapimpi, (Sportsman of the Year), and Springbok captain Siya Kolisi was voted the People’s Choice Sports Star of the Year.

Olympic 200m breaststroke champion and world record holder Tatjana Schoenmaker was the other big winner on the night being named as Sports Star of the Year and Sportswoman of the year.

Springbok Sevens rising star, Ronald Brown, was also nominated in the Newcomer of the Year category, which was won by athlete Mine de Klerk.

The awards covered the COVID-19 interrupted period 1 September 2019 to 31 August 2021, with Mr Mark Alexander, President of SA Rugby, congratulating the winners and thanking the whole rugby community for contributing to the sport’s success in the period.

“This is a proud day for the Springboks and SA Rugby, and I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to all the winners for their hard work and dedication on and off the field,” said Alexander. “Winning five awards in the country’s biggest awards ceremony is a massive achievement.

“The COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc around the world in the last two years and it placed SA Rugby under huge strain with matches being cancelled and the sport literally coming to a halt for almost two full seasons, so to win the National Federation of the Year award was also very rewarding.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at SA Rugby and in the extended rugby family for putting in the hard yards behind the scenes for their contribution to this success, and I am confident that they will continue to strive to ensure that the organisation remains one of the best in the country, if not the world.”

Alexander also praised Erasmus, Mapimpi and Kolisi for their individual awards saying: “We are blessed to have some of the most talented coaches and players in the world in our ranks, and it gives me great pleasure to see Rassie, Makazole and Siya receive the recognition they deserve for their achievements.

“Each one of them has played a vital role in the Springboks’ success in the last few years, and I believe that that they will continue to be prominent figures when the team returns to the field in July for what will be an important season as the team prepares for the Rugby World Cup in France next year.”

SA Sports Awards category winners from rugby:

National Federation of the Year – SA Rugby

Team of the Year – Springboks

Coach of the Year – Rassie Erasmus

Sportsman of the Year – Makazole Mapimpi

People’s Choice Sports Star of the Year – Siya Kolisi

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