Springbok lock Lood de Jager was named South Africa’s Player of the Year at the annual watered down awards ceremony on Thursday.
The 23-year-old was the Boks’ best player last season and the standout performer in the green and gold at an otherwise forgettable 2015 World Cup. He edged out Schalk Burger, Damian de Allende, Eben Etzebeth and Jaco Kriel to claim the prestigious award.
In the other categories, Lions flank Jaco Kriel – who’s on the cover of the latest SA Rugby magazine – was the big winner as he walked away with the Players’ Player of the Year and the Currie Cup Player of the Year accolades, while De Allende was crowned Super Rugby Player of the Year.
The Golden Lions were rewarded for their undefeated run towards the title with the Currie Cup with the Team of the Year award, while their coach Johan Ackermann was named Coach of the Year for the second successive time.
In domestic competitions, the winners in the various categories were Rhyno Smith of Leopards (Currie Cup First Division), Marnus Schoeman of the Pumas (Vodacom Cup), Leon du Plessis of Rustenburg Impala (Community Cup) and Ernst van Rhyn of Western Province (Craven Week Player of the Year).
Namibian inside centre Johan Deysel’s try for Pukke against Shimlas was voted Try of the Year for 2015 by the SuperSport commentators.
2015 Saru award winners:
Player of the Year: Lood de Jager
Young Player of the Year: Jesse Kriel
Players’ Player of the Year: Jaco Kriel
Springbok Sevens Player of the Year: Werner Kok
SA U20 Player of the Year: Warrick Gelant
Team of the Year: Golden Lions (Currie Cup)
Coach of the Year: Johan Ackermann
Super Rugby Player of Year: Damian de Allende (Stormers)
Vodacom Cup Player of the Year: Marnus Schoeman (Pumas)
Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year: Jaco Kriel (Golden Lions)
Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year: Rhyno Smith (Leopards)
Try of the Year: Johan Deysel (Pukke vs Shimlas, Varsity Cup)
Referee Award: Rasta Rasivhenge
Women’s Achiever of the Year: Veroeshka Grain
Community Cup Player of the Tournament: Leon du Plessis (Rustenburg Impala)
Craven Week Player of the Tournament: Ernst van Rhyn (Western Province)