With regular Super Rugby fixtures now a thing of the past, we thought it could be fun to host a Super Rugby year end function and give out some awards for noteworthy achievements during the season.
Year end functions are always a jol. You have a great venue, lekker food and oftentimes, awards for memorable achievements during the working year.
That said, we thought we’d review the 2017 Super Rugby season and doll out some awards of our own.
Award: “There’s always next season”
Winner: The Bulls
If I was a Bulls supporter and I had to endear their Super Rugby season, directly after the 2016 Springbok season – I’d take up watching badminton. With losses to the Sunwolves and the Kings as well as ending the season as the worst performing SA team – I’m sure the players are (not) looking forward to the arrival of Mitchell and a new dawn in 2018.
Award: “The Haley’s comet”
Winner: Handre Pollard/Damian De Allende
The Haley’s comet award is reserved for those players that you don’t see often, but when you do – it’s magnificent. Handre had a torrid time last year and was given the skipper’s arm band this year at the bulls and while he wasn’t his best – it was great to see him back on the park. Damian had a solid game in February and then disappeared for the remainder of the season only to reemerge in the last few weeks. Both class acts but both played hopelessly too little rugby.
Award: “You’re gonna go far, kid”
Winners: Curwin Bosch/Damian Willemse/Harold Vorster
As the Currie Cup continues to fight for it’s life – Super Rugby has become more of a breeding ground for young talent and this year, 3 of SA’s brightest prospects were on display in the tournament. Bosch singlehandedly beat some sides that the Sharks should have lost to while Willemse answered the Stormers S.O.S and took to Super Rugby like he wasn’t playing school boy rugby last year. Lastly, Vorster is big, strong and will be banging on the Bok door soon.
Award: “These boys ain’t loyal”
Winners: Lionel Cronje/SP Marais
Lionel Cronje has played for the Cheetahs, Stormers, Bulls, Lions, Brumbies, Sharks, Kings and is now headed to Japan. He had a great season for the Kings however and appears to have found his home. Marais on the other hand has played for the Leopards, Kings, Sharks, Bulls and now the Stormers and again – is probably playing his best rugby. Where will then end up next? Only time will tell.
Award: “The BRB (be right back)”
Winner: Jean-luc Du Plessis
After building on a solid entry into Super Rugby during 2016 – everyone expected big things from JLDP. But then, he was sidelined with a niggle in probably his third game and has been unavailable since.
Winner: The Cheetahs and Kings
During 2018, Super Rugby will wave goodbye to two SA unions in efforts to compact the tournament. The Cheetahs and Kings are billed to join the Pro 12 and (finally) participate in a European club tournament which makes so much sense for SA sides. Prediction: expect this to be the start of our unions slowing leaving SANZAAR and moving north.
Award: “The Baked Beans”
Winner: Cheslin Kolbe/Courtnall Skosan
Both of these men have insane gas. In the game of rugby, there really is no substitute for speed and both Kolbe and Skosan have it in spades. Another similarity between these two is their try scoring prowess with Skosan on 9 and Kolbe on 8 – which really is an indication of a tournament where tries have come thick and fast. Skosan must get a special mention for the season he has had. His form has led to 3 Springbok caps and I see many more in his future.
Award: “The gun show”
Winner: Chris Cloete/Jean-luc Du Preez/Eben Etzebeth
All three of these guys look like they would have zero problem ripping a phone book in half. Another similarity is that they have had insane seasons. Cloete has inspired the Kings with his ability to pilfer the ball while Jean-luc Du Preez has pioneered transforming a tackle into a maul via sheer upper body strength. Lastly, Eben Etzebeth has been one of the most effective ball carriers in the Stormers outfit.
Award: “Like riding a bike”
Winner: Jan Serfontein/Jesse Kriel
Both Serfontein and Jesse Kriel are immensely talented but have struggled for form during 2016 and for some of 2017. This changed during the first Springbok tests of 2017 where both of these guys flipped a switch and started to find some form again. Serfontein in particular has been good – he is one of the top young talents in this country and it’s a shame that he’ll be packing his backs for Europe come year end.
Winner: Dillyn Leyds
Leyds would be on a short list at Stormers HQ for MVP – while he might not be the biggest player in the world – he is lightning fast and has a magic to his game that’s hard to measure. His behind the back ball to SP against the Chiefs was a thing of beauty – I know I’ve watched the video at least 10 times. Watch it again here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeKx_5N19kk.
There you have it folks, any awards we have missed? Let us know in the comments or hit us with a tweet @leftbacks