South Africa Rugby Awards 2023: A night of stars, celebrations, and historic wins


At the prestigious SA Rugby Awards 2023, held at Multichoice City in Johannesburg, South Africa, the nation’s rugby stars shone brightly as they were recognized for their exceptional performances throughout the season.

Among the standout winners was double Rugby World Cup-winning Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth, who etched his name in history by becoming only the second player ever to clinch back-to-back SA Rugby’s Player of the Year awards.

Etzebeth’s accolade was a testament to his remarkable consistency and unwavering excellence on the field, as he played a pivotal role in South Africa’s triumphant campaign at the Rugby World Cup in France.

Despite stiff competition from the likes of Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi, Frans Malherbe, and Damian Willemse, Etzebeth’s exceptional contributions secured him the prestigious award once again.

In another display of dominance, Springbok wing Canan Moodie mirrored Etzebeth’s feat by clinching the Young Player of the Year Award for the second consecutive season.

Moodie’s electrifying performances for both the Springboks and the Vodacom Bulls highlighted his immense talent and potential, solidifying his status as one of South Africa’s rising stars in the world of rugby.

Meanwhile, Libbie Janse van Rensburg emerged as a force to be reckoned with in women’s rugby, sweeping the women’s categories by claiming the titles of Springbok Women and Provincial Player of the Year for 2023.

Janse van Rensburg’s stellar displays for the Springbok Women and the Bulls Daisies showcased her prowess and leadership on the field, earning her well-deserved recognition at the awards ceremony.

The evening also saw Jacques Nienaber and the Springboks rightfully crowned as the Coach and Team of the Year respectively, following their magnificent triumph in France.

Additionally, standout performers such as Ricardo Duartee and Corne Beets were honored for their contributions to the Springbok Sevens and Junior Springbok teams.

In a special moment, fans voted Cheslin Kolbe’s memorable charge-down of a conversion in the Rugby World Cup quarter-final as the SuperSport Fans’ Moment of the Year, highlighting the indomitable spirit and passion of South African rugby supporters.

Moreover, individuals excelling at franchise and provincial levels were also recognized for their outstanding performances, with players like Ruan Pienaar, Cameron Hufke, and Manie Libbok receiving well-deserved accolades for their contributions to their respective teams.

In a heartwarming gesture, the SA Rugby Associate Member of the Year award was reintroduced, with the SA Deaf Rugby Association (SADRA) receiving the honor for their commendable efforts in representing South Africa on the international stage.

Mark Alexander, President of SA Rugby, congratulated all the winners for their remarkable achievements and contributions to a memorable 2023 season, emphasizing the significance of their efforts in promoting nation-building and social cohesion in South Africa.

As the curtain fell on the SA Rugby Awards 2023, the night served as a celebration of excellence, camaraderie, and the enduring spirit of rugby in South Africa, leaving a lasting legacy for generations to come.

SA Rugby Awards 2023 winners and finalists (where applicable):

SA Rugby Men’s Player of the Year: Eben Etzebeth
Finalists: Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi, Frans Malherbe, Damian Willemse

Springbok Women’s Player of the Year: Libbie Janse van Rensburg
Finalists: Aseza Hele, Babalwa Latsha, Rights Mkhari, Nadine Roos

SA Rugby Young Player of the Year: Canan Moodie (Springboks / Vodacom Bulls)
Finalists: Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu (DHL Stormers), Jaden Hendrikse (Springboks / Cell C Sharks), Evan Roos (Springboks / DHL Stormers), Ruan Venter (Emirates Lions)

Springbok Sevens Men’s Player of the Year: Ricardo Duarttee
Finalists: Christie Grobbelaar, Shilton van Wyk

Junior Springbok Player of the Year: Corne Beets
Finalists: Paul de Villiers, Damian Markus

Team of the Year: Springboks
Finalists: Toyota Cheetahs, DHL Stormers

Coach of the Year: Jacques Nienaber (Springboks)
Finalists: Hawies Fourie (Toyota Cheetahs), John Dobson (DHL Stormers)

Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year: Ruan Pienaar (Toyota Cheetahs)
Finalists: Tinus de Beer (Airlink Pumas), Devon Williams (Airlink Pumas)

Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year: Cameron Hufke (Boland Kavaliers)
Finalists: Keagan Fortune (Valke), Darian Hock (Boland Kavaliers)

SuperSport Fans’ Moment of the Year: Cheslin Kolbe
Finalists: Bongi Mbonambi, Manie Libbok, Damian Willemse

Provincial Women’s Player of the Year: Libbie Janse van Rensburg (Bulls Daisies)

OUTsurance Referee of the Year: Jaco Peyper

Vodacom United Rugby Championship Fans’ Player of the Season (announced last year): Manie Libbok (DHL Stormers)

SA Rugby Associate Member of the Year: SA Deaf Rugby Association

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