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Boks run rampant at SA Sports Awards


The world champion Springboks and South African Rugby Union dominated the South African Sports Awards.

Manie Libbok wins Newcomer of the year during the 2024 SA Sports Awards at the Sun City, Rusternburg on the 05 May 2024. Picture: Muzi Ntombela, BackpagePix

Ongama Gcwabe

OVER the past couple of years, rugby has been a unifying sport for a country that is often divided for a host of different reasons.

As a result, when the Springboks and the South African Rugby Union dominated the winners’ list at the South African Sports Awards this past Saturday, there were almost no surprises.

After all, this Springbok team won back-to-back World Cup trophies and became the first Springbok team to achieve the feat. Similarly, SA Rugby was able to complete a turnaround of note in-house and helped set up a healthy environment for the national and domestic teams to thrive in.

The Springboks won Team of the Year, while SA Rugby walked away with the National Federation of the Year award.

Moreover, Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber was honoured with the Coach the Year award, while lock Eben Etzebeth walked away with the Sportsman of the Year award. Captain Siya Kolisi was the biggest winner on the night as he walked away with the Sports Star of the Year and the People’s Choice awards.

To cap the night off, SA Rugby Union (Saru) president Mark Alexander walked away with an Administrator of the Year award after eight years as the head of the organisation, while Springbok flyhalf Manie Libbok was honoured with the Newcomer of the Year award.

“We are greatly appreciative of the honours bestowed on our sport by the judges and the people of South Africa,” said Saru CEO Rian Oberholzer, who was in attendance to collect the Federation of the Year award.

“Rugby has worked hard over a long period to reach this point and we are now fortunate to be enjoying a golden age, and these awards are a reward for all that hard work, dedication and passion that are daily poured into the sport at every level – from the school fields to the provincial unions and, of course, at the Springbok level.

“These trophies are collected by individuals on the night, but I hope that everyone involved in rugby knows that these are their awards as well. It is a happy and humbling occasion for our sport.”

Alexander extended his thanks to the rugby community and the country at large for playing a role in the success of the sport.

“We extend our heartfelt thanks to the millions of South Africans who supported our team throughout their World Cup campaign in 2023. Your enthusiasm and encouragement have been invaluable to us,” he said.

“We have had to endure some very tough times on and off the field and we can never relax our vigilance, but these awards are a tribute to everyone engaged in the sport, wherever they are in the country.”

Sailing South Africa was also represented at the 17th edition of the SA Sports awards as Kirsten Neuschafer walked away with the Sportswoman of the Year award.

Mpumelelo Mhlongo (SA Sports Association for the Physically Disabled) and Simone Kruger (SA Sports Association for the Physically Disabled, Para Athletics) walked away with the sportsman and sportswoman of the year with disabilities awards, respectively.

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