Springbok flank Schalk Burger was on Thursday named South African Rugby Player of the Year for the second time, while the Golden Lions picked up a hat trick of awards as their Currie Cup success was recognised at a glittering ceremony at the Lyric Theatre at Gold Reef City.

Burger, 28, was rewarded for his striking form as he led the Stormers into the Super Rugby playoffs and then returned from a thumb injury to be arguably the outstanding Springbok at the Rugby World Cup.

The blond-haired loose forward’s win was added to the title he claimed in 2004. He becomes only the fifth player to win the title more than once, following in the footsteps of Naas Botha (who won it four times), Uli Schmidt, Bryan Habana and Fourie du Preez (who all won it twice).

He was voted as Player of the Year by South Africa’s accredited rugby media in competition with fellow nominees and Rugby World Cup Springbok team-mates Bismarck du Plessis, Francois Hougaard, Pat Lambie and Victor Matfield.

Burger’s award was the finale of a star-studded night during which 16 awards were won for rugby excellence across all age groups and competitions in 16 categories.

The Golden Lions scooped three awards after beating the Sharks in the Currie Cup final last weekend to win their first title since 1999. They were named Absa Team of the Year, their coach, John Mitchell, is the Absa Coach of the Year and their captain, Josh Strauss, was named Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year.

Springbok fullback Pat Lambie, 21, was named the Absa Young Player of the Year, building on the fine impression he made in his debut season of 2010 and ending the year as the incumbent Springbok fullback. SA Under-20 captain Arno Botha is the SA Under-20 Player of the Year after some sterling performances at the Junior World Championships in Italy earlier this year.

Cecil Afrika, who was recently named the World Sevens Player of the Year after he topped both the top points and try scoring lists during the 2010/11 HSBC Sevens World Series, walked away with the award for Springbok Sevens Player of the Year.

The SARPA Players’ Player of the Year Award went to Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis, while the SuperSport Try of the Year was awarded to Springbok Sevens flyer Sibusiso Sithole for his tournament-winning score in the final of the Edinburgh Sevens against Australia.

The South African Rugby Union (SARU) also paid tribute to two retiring Springboks legends. Both John Smit, who has already left South African to take up a contract with English club Saracens, and Victor Matfield played their last Test for the Boks in the quarter-finals at the Rugby World Cup.

There were also rewards for Cheetahs scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius (Super Rugby Player of the Year), Boland Cavaliers flyhalf Elgar Watts (Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year) and Western Province flyhalf Lionel Cronje (Vodacom Cup Player of the Year).

Oregan Hoskins, President of SARU, said that the 2011 season was one of the more significant and satisfying seasons in recent years.

“On-field success of our national and provincial teams will always be of paramount importance, but I believe we have enjoyed a special year in the history of our rugby – perhaps a watershed year,” said Hoskins.

“That’s because our Springbok team has been embraced by all South Africans in a way I have never experienced before. 2011 was the year that fans from all backgrounds stood behind the Boks from the moment the squad was announced. In the past, that kind of affection was dependent on the delivery of a trophy.”

The winners and finalists (where applicable) in all the categories are:

SARU Rugby Player of the Year
Winner: Schalk Burger
Finalists: Bismarck du Plessis, Francois Hougaard, Pat Lambie, Victor Matfield.

Absa Young Player of the Year
Winner: Pat Lambie
Finalists Johan Goosen, Francois Hougaard, Elton Jantjies, Jaco Taute.

Absa Team of the Year
Winner: Golden Lions
Finalists: Boland Cavaliers, Springbok Sevens, Stormers, University of Cape Town.

Absa Coach of the Year
Winner: John Mitchell (Golden Lions)
Finalists: Allister Coetzee ( Stormers and Western Province), Eugene Eloff (Boland Cavaliers), John Plumtree (the Sharks), Paul Treu (Springbok Sevens).

Super Rugby Player of the Year
Winner: Sarel Pretorius (Cheetahs)
Finalists: Gio Aplon (Stormers), Schalk Burger (Stormers), Bismarck du Plessis (the Sharks), Duane Vermeulen (Stormers).

Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year

Winner: Josh Strauss (MTN Golden Lions)
Finalists: Johan Goosen (Toyota FS Cheetahs), Elton Jantjies (MTN Golden Lions), Frederic Michalak (The Sharks), Jaco Taute (MTN Golden Lions).

Absa Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year
Winner: Elgar Watts (Boland Cavaliers)
Finalists: Bolla Conradie (Boland Cavaliers), Danwel Demas (Boland Cavaliers), Willie le Roux (Boland Cavaliers), Luke Watson (EP Kings).

Vodacom Cup Player of the Year
Winner: Lionel Cronje (WP)
Finalists: Marnitz Boshoff (Blue Bulls), Marcell Coetzee (Sharks XV), JJ Engelbrecht (WP), Juan Imhoff (Pampas XV).

SARPA Players’ Player of the Year: Bismarck du Plessis

Springbok Sevens Player of the Year: Cecil Afrika

Supersport Try of the Year
Winner: Sibusiso Sithole (Springbok Sevens vs Australia in the final of the Edinburgh Sevens)
Finalists: Gio Aplon (DHL Stormers vs Chiefs in Hamilton), Lwazi Mvovo (The Sharks vs Toyota Cheetahs in Bloemfontein), Sarel Pretorius (first try for Toyota Cheetahs vs Blues in Whangarei and first try vs Brumbies in Bloemfontein), Jaco Taute (MTN Golden Lions v The Sharks in Johannesburg, Absa Currie Cup final).

SA Under-20 Player of the Year: Arno Botha

Coca-Cola Craven Week Player of the Tournament: Jan Serfontein (Free State)

Marriott Referee Award: Craig Joubert

SARU National Club Championship Player of the Tournament: Justin Wheeler (University of Johannesburg)

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  1. I believe we have enjoyed a special year in the history of our rugby – perhaps a watershed year,” said Hoskins.
    Pray tell me more.

  2. I can not believe that that man
    occupies a responsable position
    in SA Rugby.

    He should be cutting fkn grass somewhere.

    With a panga,
    partly because he would
    only break mower
    and mainly because he might
    mortally injure himself.

  3. Ja, die man lyk en klink altyd
    soos ‘n swakkeling, ondinamies.
    Poephol dalk die beste woord.

    Glad about Josh.

  4. “2011 was the year that fans from all backgrounds stood behind the Boks from the moment the squad was announced.”

    Because there was nothing else to stand behind.
    Cricket, Hockey, Netball, not to mention
    Bafana who thought they qualified for the African
    Nations Cup – and then discovered they did not
    understand the rules.
    :Rule 9:
    And cricket is moving from the one admin scandall
    to the next.
    Next year is Olympic Games, and we have no
    medal contenders (after winning seven in
    Maybe the Blitzbokke?

  5. all good news.
    Doen’t look any better in other
    international unions.:whatever:
    rugby is being strangled
    from grasroots upwards
    by greedy geeks.

  6. What effing moron made these awards?

    Schalk as player of the year? Did Keo get a special casting vote?

    Young player of the year? Exactly how did Lambie earn that? By being a Bok and doing f**kall of any value…. jeeeezzzus… what about Taute? JJ Englebrecht? Johan Sadie? Elton Jantjes? Elgar Watts….

    Josh I am half okay with but surely surely surely it HAD to be Elton Jantjes? He played kak in the first half of Super 14 and then returned to form for the final bit… and Lions won three and drew one… and when he clicked in CC the Lions couldn’t lose…

    VC player is a shocker too. Juan Imhoff was best by a country effing mile…

  7. maak al die lions bokke Oom Dawie.
    Won one CC in at home
    in ages.

    And they should get all the awards.
    Lambie and FS was about our line
    at the world cup.

    Die druk op WB en CC
    is skaars dieselfde.

    Die blootstelling aan hoér kwaliteit opponente
    en druk om jou spel te verhoog.

    What did Jantjies do apart
    from an being in form?

    Get outscored by michalak?

    One of the only international flyhalves left
    in the CC at the WC year
    missed for the french team
    and still outscores Jantjies.
    I do not disrespect him at all
    i think he is a great potential
    in the making,
    Rather have lambie than him
    have the merit.

  8. Schalla Player fo the Year?? Tackle monster but that where it ends. I would have gone for Vic or a certain Pumas player.

    Reply to DavidS @ 11:22 pm: Good one, Koedoes and the WP gang.

    Glad to see SUPER SAREL getting recognised as one of our best talents, even ahead of fucking Fourie over the hill Dup.

    Absa Coach of the Year :applause:
    Winner: John Mitchell (Golden Lions)
    Finalists: Allister Coetzee ( Stormers and Western Province), Eugene Eloff (Boland Cavaliers), John Plumtree (the Sharks), Paul Treu (Springbok Sevens). Oh God, maybe Loffie but the other 3 are shit. The dude from the Pumas should have been another finalist.

    Did you see the two spineless moles on either side of the CC trophy, Hoskins and some other toad looking idiot. Thats is why Bok rugby is in shit.

  9. Reply to Kevin_rack @ 12:23 am:

    “two spineless moles”

    As for Schalla’s tackling: Mostly from behind.
    Can’t remember him putting in a hit and tackling
    a player backwards.
    Also has the habit to fall off tackles.

  10. Reply to Duiwel @ 11:54 pm:

    Ek het EEN Lions speler voorgestel Duiwel…

    Ek het selfs geskryf een moenie gekies geword het nie… lees bietjie volgende keer voor jy kak skryf…

    Juts matter of interst met julle fokken Michelkak en alles in CC

    Head to head

    3 games

    Lions wen twee en Sharks 1

    Klaar gepraat oor wie die beste is ne?

    Reply to Pokkel @ 8:14 am:

    No man

    Just thought the media voting was a bit strange!

  11. Reply to Morné @ 9:34 am:

    Didn’t see

    Was at MMA classes…

    Watched one of those macho teenage “tough guy” boy spar with a petite similarly aged pretty girl and get totally pwned…

    Was worth it just to see this gangly pimple faced little twat who wants to bliksem everyone for serious during sparring and practice get put on his back and squeal like a girl when she put him between her legs and locked a kimoro on his arm…

    But SS has drawn some pearlers this year! The naming of the Bok squad and now this… was there not another show that was similarly ridiculous earlier?

  12. Reply to DavidS @ 9:59 am:

    Count yourself lucky buddy, it was a bloody howler.

    As for the awards, I always find it useless apart from the player’s player of the year – only award worth anything.

    Just as general information as to how this works.

    Media gets asked to nominate their players or choices in the different categories – those with the most nominations makes the shortlist.

    A panel at SA Rugby then picks the winner (but that should be obvious given some of the choices).

    These awards are 99% based on sentiment and the other 1% on what happened most recently.

    Load of kak.

  13. In 2010 Joe Pietersen’s silky play was a LARGE reason for the success of the Stormers… so too his kicking.

    Losing him was a massive blow for South Africa as a whole…

  14. Reply to Morné @ 11:04 am: –> Reply to DavidS @ 11:39 am: I was just going to say bout his kicking. Apart from Grant, there are not many who really did well. Duvenhage is not vrot, but he has a lot of responsibility as it is and should only be used in case of emergency.
    Glad Joe is back, hope he still has last year’s form.

  15. I think they are preparing us for Burger being the next Bok 10.

    It’s called the Rassie plan and it’s not just outside the box, it’s completely outside the sporting house.

  16. Deservedly so for Burger… had a HUGE Super 15 season and was a machine in the RWC… but so was Matfield… the two had the best stats for both competitions for a forward by a country mile… Had Danie not been owned by the Aussies he’d be there as well.

  17. Hey guys hope all is well

    I can’t see how this signing bodes well for WP although they have lost a few good players they need to have more power in the forwards especially the front 5 if they are to wim trophies!

    Having a great backline without front foot ball means absolutely nothing!

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