Burger named SA Rugby Player of 2011

first_img4 November 2011Springbok flank Schalk Burger was named South African Rugby Player of the Year for a second time, while Currie Cup champions the MTN Golden Lions picked up a hat-trick of awards, at the 2011 SA Rugby Awards.The awards ceremony took place at Johannesburg’s Gold Reef City on Thursday evening, and the golden locks of Burger matched the award he received for his performances for the Stormers, who made it into the Super Rugby playoffs, and for the Springboks at the Rugby World Cup.Two-time winnerBurger previously won the award in 2004 and becomes only the fifth player to win it 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, ahead of 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.Golden Lions’ successThe Golden Lions scooped three awards after beating The Sharks in the Absa Currie Cup final last weekend to win their first title since 1999. They were named Absa Team of the Year; their coach, John Mitchell, the Absa Coach of the Year; and their captain, Josh Strauss, Absa 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 by excelling at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.SA under-20 captain Arno Botha was named the SA Under-20 Player of the Year after some sterling performances at the Junior World Championships in Italy earlier this year.Easy decisionCecil 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 in one of the easiest decisions of the night.The South African Rugby Players Association (Sarpa) Players’ Player of the Year Award, voted on by the players themselves, went to Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis.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.TributeThe South African Rugby Union (Saru) also paid tribute to two retiring Springboks legends: John Smit, who has already left South African to take up a contract with English club Saracens, and Victor Matfield, both played their last tests for the Boks in the quarter-finals at the Rugby World Cup.There were also rewards for Toyota Cheetahs’ scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius (Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Year), who will represent Australia’s Waratahs next season, Regent Boland Cavaliers flyhalf Elgar Watts (Absa Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year) and DHL Western Province flyhalf Lionel Cronje (Vodacom Cup Player of the Year).Craig Joubert, who refereed the Rugby World Cup final, and became the first referee to take charge of matches in every single round of a singler World Cup competition unsurprisingly won the Marriot Referee Award.Significant and satisfyingOregan 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.”AWARD WINNERSSaru Rugby Player of the YearSchalk BurgerAbsa Young Player of the YearPat LambieAbsa Team of the YearMTN Golden LionsAbsa Coach of the YearJohn Mitchell (MTN Golden Lions)Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the YearSarel Pretorius (Toyota Cheetahs)Absa Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the YearJosh Strauss (MTN Golden Lions)Absa Currie Cup First Division Player of the YearElgar Watts (Regent Boland Cavaliers)Vodacom Cup Player of the YearLionel Cronje (DHL WP)Sarpa Players’ Player of the YearBismarck du PlessisSpringbok Sevens Player of the YearCecil AfrikaSupersport Try of the YearSibusiso Sithole (Springbok Sevens vs Australia in the final of the Edinburgh Sevens)SA Under-20 Player of the YearArno BothaCoca-Cola Craven Week Player of the TournamentJan Serfontein (Free State)Marriott Referee AwardCraig JoubertWomen’s Achiever of the YearCebisa KulaSaru National Club Championship Player of the TournamentJustin Wheeler (University of Johannesburg)SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? 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