Durban - The manner in which Siya Kolisi led from the front in the Springboks’ series win over the British and Irish Lions makes him a deserved winner of the SA Rugby Player of the Year for 2021.
The Bok captain was colossal in that hard-fought series and was also in fine form in the Boks’ epic matches against the All Blacks in the Rugby Championship, with the Boks winning the last encounter in a nail-biter.
The popular 30-year-old garnered the most votes for his performances during an exceptionally tough season for the Boks while the exciting Aphelele Fassi underlined his great potential by winning the Young Player of the Year award.
🇿🇦 Ladies and gentlemen, your SA Rugby Player of the Year for 2021 is none other than our Springbok captain, @SiyaKolisi, who led by example and is the only player to feature in all 13 Tests last year. Siyavuyisana nawe Siya! #SARugbyAwards #StrongerTogether #StrongerForever pic.twitter.com/q0VtoKQO8E— Springboks (@Springboks) January 27, 2022
Kolisi edged out strong challenges from his national teammates in Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Eben Etzebeth, and Makazole Mapimpi to become the first Bok captain since Jean de Villiers in 2013 to win the top award.
Kolisi was the only Springbok to play in all 13 Tests in 2021.
Fassi made his Springbok debut in 2021 and although he featured in only two Tests – scoring superb tries on both occasions – he showed that he is one for the future by playing with increasing maturity at fullback and on the wing.
The Springboks were deservedly named Team of the Year for 2021as a result of showing true grit while spending five months in various bio-secure bubbles in South Africa, Australia and the United Kingdom and delivering some outstanding performances – notably coming from 1-0 down to clinch the Lions series.
In a brand-new category, Lusanda Dumke was named Springbok Women’s Player of the Year, while the Border captain also walked away with the award for Provincial Women’s Player of the Year after leading her side to the Women’s Premier Division title.
Ronald Brown capped a fine debut season for the Blitzboks as he was named Springbok Sevens Player of the Year, while Henco van Wyk’s performances in the Under-20 International Series saw him walk away with the award for Junior Springbok Player of the Year.
Aimee Barrett-Theron capped a remarkable season by winning the Referee of the Year Award for the second time after she also walked away with the accolade in 2019.
Another new award, the Test Try of the Year – which was voted for by supporters on various digital platforms – went to Cheslin Kolbe for his superb and crucial try in the third Test against the British & Irish Lions in Cape Town.
The Bulls’ second successive Currie Cup title was reflected as Jake White was named Coach of the Year for the second year running, while their up-and-coming loose forward Elrigh Louw edged out teammate Johan Goosen and co-flanker Evan Roos in the race to Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year.
The award for Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year, which wasn’t contested in 2020, was won by Dylan Maart of the Boland Kavaliers, whose eight tries were the most in the competition last year.
The winners and finalists (where applicable) for 2021 are:
SA Rugby Player of the Year: Siya Kolisi
Finalists: Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Eben Etzebeth, Makazole Mapimpi
SA Rugby Young Player of the Year: Aphelele Fassi (Springboks / Cell C Sharks)
Finalists: Jaden Hendrikse (Springboks / Cell C Sharks), Jordan Hendrikse (Junior Springboks / Emirates Lions), Elrigh Louw (Vodacom Bulls), Evan Roos (DHL Stormers / Western Province)
Springbok Women’s Player of the Year: Lusanda Dumke
Springbok Sevens Player of the Year: Ronald Brown
Finalists: Selvyn Davids, Siviwe Soyizwapi
Junior Springbok Player of the Year: Henco van Wyk
Finalists: Jordan Hendrikse, Jan-Hendrik Wessels
Team of the Year: Springboks
Finalists: Vodacom Bulls, Springbok Sevens
Coach of the Year: Jake White (Vodacom Bulls)
Finalists: Jacques Nienaber (Springboks), Neil Powell (Springbok Sevens)
Carling Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year: Elrigh Louw (Vodacom Bulls)
Finalists: Johan Goosen (Vodacom Bulls), Evan Roos (DHL Western Province)
Carling Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year: Dylan Maart (Boland Kavaliers)
Finalists: Anrich Richter (Valke), Danrich Visagie (Leopards)
Provincial Women’s Player of the Year: Lusanda Dumke (Border Ladies)
Castle Lager Test Try of the Year: Cheslin Kolbe – Springboks v British & Irish Lions (third Test)
Finalists: Cobus Reinach – Springboks vs Georgia; Makazole Mapimpi – Springboks vs British & Irish Lions; Sizophila Solontsi – Springbok Women vs Kenya; Aphelele Fassi – Springboks vs Argentina; Damian de Allende – Springboks vs New Zealand; Malcolm Marx – Springboks vs Wales; Makazole Mapimpi – Springboks vs Scotland; Zintle Mpupha – Springbok Women v Wales; Libbie Janse van Rensburg – Springbok Women v Wales
OUTsurance Referee of the Year: Aimee Barrett-Theron