Lions' stars up for top awards
NEWS: The Golden Lions are well represented amongst the nominations for the 2016 SA Rugby Player of the Year Awards.
Six players from the Golden Lions – Ruan Combrinck, Warren Whiteley, Jaco Kriel, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Malcolm Marx and Elton Jantjies – were nominated, while Super Rugby runners-up, the Lions, made the top three in the Team of the Year category and Johan Ackermann has been nominated as Coach of the Year for a fourth consecutive year.
Ackermann, who steered the Lions to their first Super Rugby Final, will face strong opposition from Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell, who has also been short-listed for the fourth year in a row, and Boland's Brent Janse van Rensburg in the category for Coach of the Year.
Combrink, Kriel and Whiteley will come up against the Stormers lock duo of Pieter-Steph du Toit and Eben Etzebeth to determine who walks away with the award for SA Rugby Player of the Year on October 24, when the awards ceremony takes place in Johannesburg.
Marx and Janse van Rensburg are up against Curwin Bosch, Rudolph Snyman and Seabelo Senatla in the category for Young Player of the Year, while the Super Rugby Player of the Tournament will be Combrinck, Whiteley or Jantjies.
To cap off a fine season for the team from Johannesburg, they are contenders for Team of the Year, along with the Olympic bronze medal-winning Springbok Sevens and the Free State Cheetahs, who went unbeaten through the pool phase of the Currie Cup Premier Division.
Two emerging backline stars for the Springbok Sevens team and the Junior Springboks, Senatla and Bosch, raked in two nominations each. They are up against Kyle Brown and Rosko Specman (Springbok Sevens Player of the Year), and Manie Libbok and Jeremy Ward (Junior Springbok Player of the Year) respectively.
For the Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year award, Nico Lee and Retshegofaditswe Nche from the Free State Cheetahs are up against WP's Huw Jones.
George Whitehead, who was a key figure in the Griffons’ victory in the First Division Final last weekend, is up against Border's Masixole Banda and Johan Deysel from the Leopards for the Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year award.
SA Rugby Player of the Year:
Pieter-Steph du Toit
Young Player of the Year:
Rohan Janse van Rensburg
Team of the Year:
Lions (Super Rugby)
Free State Cheetahs (Currie Cup Premier Division)
Coach of the Year:
Johann Ackermann (Golden Lions)
Brent Janse van Rensburg (Boland)
Neil Powell (Springbok Sevens)
Junior Springbok Player of the Year:
SA Sevens Player of the Year:
Super Rugby Player of Year:
Ruan Combrinck (Lions)
Elton Jantjies (Lions)
Warren Whiteley (Lions)
Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year:
Huw Jones (Western Province)
Nico Lee (Free State Cheetahs)
Retshegofaditswe Nche (Free State Cheetahs)
Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year:
Masixole Banda (Border)
Johan Deysel (Leopards)
George Whitehead (Griffons)