Eben Etzebeth voted as the SA Rugby Player of the Year after superb 2022 season

Eben Etzebeth of the Sharks was recognised by his home country as the SA Rugby Player of the Year on Tuesday. Picture: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Eben Etzebeth of the Sharks was recognised by his home country as the SA Rugby Player of the Year on Tuesday. Picture: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Published Jan 31, 2023


Cape Town – He had an unbelievable 2022, and despite missing out on the World Rugby award, Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth was recognised by his home country as the SA Rugby Player of the Year on Tuesday.

The 31-year-old Sharks second-rower, who has 110 Test caps to his name, held off a strong contingent of teammates in Lukhanyo Am, Kurt-Lee Arendse, captain Siya Kolisi and Frans Malherbe – all of whom would also have been worthy recipients – to claim the top gong for the first time.

But Etzebeth produced remarkable consistency throughout a superb 2022, with his enforcer role of hitting rucks and making big tackles being complemented by soft hands in offloads, chasing up-and-unders and contesting and winning lineouts against the throw.

“Eben has been a Springbok stalwart for more than a decade, and it’s just amazing to see how he keeps getting better with age, playing with maturity and providing valuable leadership to the Springboks,” SA Rugby president Mark Alexander said on Tuesday.

“The Boks are building on depth and experience with an eye on the Rugby World Cup later this year, and I think they are in a good space under the coaching of Jacques Nienaber and the captaincy of Siya.

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“But Eben’s role can’t be underestimated as he is not only the most experienced member of the squad, but he also sets the example for younger players, and was widely regarded as one of the best players on the planet last year.”

The other major winners at the awards include Bulls star Canan Moodie, who was chosen as the Young Player of the Year, JC Pretorius is the Sevens Player of the Year, and Stormers playmaker Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu was crowned the Junior Springbok Player of the Year.

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The Stormers won the Team of the Year award, while their mentor John Dobson was named as the Coach of the Year after guiding the Cape side to the United Rugby Championship title.

On the women’s front, speedster Nadine Roos was named as the Player of the Year.

SA Rugby Awards Winners

SA Rugby Player of the Year: Eben Etzebeth
Finalists: Lukhanyo Am, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Siya Kolisi, Frans Malherbe

SA Rugby Young Player of the Year: Canan Moodie (Springboks / Vodacom Bulls)

Finalists: Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu (Junior Springboks / South Africa ‘A’ / DHL Stormers), Jaden Hendrikse (Springboks / Cell C Sharks), Evan Roos (Springboks / DHL Stormers), Henco van Wyk (South Africa ‘A’ / Emirates Lions)

Springbok Women’s Player of the Year: Nadine Roos

Finalists: Lusanda Dumke, Aseza Hele, Zintle Mpupha, Aphiwe Ngwevu

Springbok Sevens Player of the Year: JC Pretorius

Finalists: Selvyn Davids, Zain Davids

Junior Springbok Player of the Year: Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu

Finalists: Suleiman Hartzenberg, Ruan Venter

Team of the Year: DHL Stormers

Finalists: Airlink Pumas, Springboks

Coach of the Year: John Dobson (DHL Stormers)

Finalists: Jacques Nienaber (Springboks), Jimmy Stonehouse (Airlink Pumas)

Carling Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year: Sebastian de Klerk (Airlink Pumas)

Finalists: Willie Engelbrecht (Airlink Pumas), Devon Williams (Airlink Pumas)

Carling Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year: Jaywinn Juries (Down Touch Griffons)

Finalists: Jaiden Baron (Boland Kavaliers), Duan Pretorius (Down Touch Griffons)

Provincial Women’s Player of the Year: Lusanda Dumke (Border Ladies)

OUTsurance Referee of the Year: Aimee Barrett-Theron

Vodacom United Rugby Championship Player of the Season (announced last year): Evan Roos (DHL Stormers)

Finalists: Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks), Marcell Coetzee (Vodacom Bulls), Warrick Gelant (DHL Stormers), Ruan Nortje (Vodacom Bulls), Vincent Tshituka