A veteran rugby writer, an up-and-coming television producer and a hobbyist who turned his passion for photography into a profession have won the annual Sasol Springbok Media Awards which recognize excellence in reporting on Springbok rugby.
Gavin Rich of The Argus and supersport.com won the Springbok Rugby Writer of the Year award in the category of Print and Internet Media; Gerhard Duraan of Juiced Media in Durban was named the Photographer of the Year and Sean Everett of SuperSport was crowned as the Broadcaster of the Year when the Sasol awards were announced at a function held in Johannesburg on Wednesday, September 29.
Sasol instituted the awards in 2004 to complement their sponsorship of the Springboks and to acknowledge the outstanding and dedicated work done by the media in covering the exploits of South Africa’s national rugby teams and the judges commented that the quality and depth of the entries this year had been the strongest yet.
With outstanding work coming to the fore on internet platforms the section for rugby writers was particularly competitive but in the end it was the veteran newspapermen who won out.
Gavin Rich, after nearly two decades of following the exploits of the Springboks, was always at the cutting edge of a difficult year for the Boks; bravely identifying and confronting issues and providing in-depth and balanced reporting, comment and feature writing for the organizations he represents – narrowly edging out two former winners of the Rugby Writer award in JJ Harmse (Media 24) and Mike Greenaway (Independent Newspapers).
Sean Everett learnt his trade the hard way by hoisting a camera onto his shoulder to get close-ups at rugby matches and confirmed his reputation as one of the brightest talents in the sports broadcasting industry. Elevated to the position of director/producer of test matches at SuperSport he directed three of the most exciting test matches ever held in South Africa with the cherry on the top being the marvellous coverage he orchestrated of the historic match between the Springboks and the All Blacks at the FNB Stadium in Soweto.
The judges commented that Everett’s use of modern technology and a record number of cameras, including the new SpiderCam, was exceptional in that he was able to bring to bear all the elements available to him to enhance his coverage rather than use technology for the sake of technology.
Merit awards in the broadcasting section went SuperSport’s “go-to man” Darren Scott for his accomplished anchoring of test matches and magazine shows and to Johan Rademann (RSG) for his inimitable radio broadcasts in Afrikaans.
For Gerhard Duraan, named as Photographer of the Year, the Sasol Award was confirmation of the old sporting maxim that “you must live your dream.” Photography was his hobby but he wanted to turn it into a profession so he shot, printed and peddled his pictures to publishing houses until he was in a position to go fulltime. His superb portfolio stood out in an exceptionally strong category – the clincher for the judges being the exceptional shot of Springbok captain John Smit catching the ball by grasping its tip with the tips of his fingers.
Entries in the photographic section were of a particularly high standard and merit awards went to Denvor de Wee (Foto24) and Anton de Villiers (SA Sports Picture Agency).