Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis seems a public favourite for Thursday’s coveted SA Player of the Year mantle.
Rob Houwing, Sport24
A Sport24 readers’ poll this week asked the question: “Who is most deserving of the 2011 SA Player of the Year award from the five players nominated?”
There had been almost 3 500 respondents at the time of writing, and the ever-competitive, powerful Sharks man had attracted some 27% of support.
Bismarck may have been mostly a bench resource for the country at RWC 2011, but he was closely followed, however, by another largely “impact” player at the World Cup, Bulls scrumhalf-cum-wing Francois Hougaard, on 25% – suggesting that many Bok enthusiasts were less than happy with the pair not being regarded as first choices as the national side bowed out at the quarter-final stage in New Zealand.
Next up on 21% came old favourite Schalk Burger, the tireless flank who did everything possible to try to prolong the Boks’ run at the tournament and is a prior recipient from as far back as 2004.
Emerging star Patrick Lambie, another versatile customer who excelled at fullback in the latter stages of RWC 2011, got 16% of the vote, whilst retiring, long-serving lineout king Victor Matfield earned 11% of approval.
Matfield has been among finalists for the award on five previous occasions since 2001, indicating his great consistency for franchise and country, although he has never quite “crossed the line” yet for the title.
Loosehead prop Gurthrö Steenkamp is the incumbent award-holder.
*The awards ceremony in Johannesburg goes out live on SuperSport1, CSN and SHD from 19:30.