Springboks captain Siya Kolisi has been named the South Africa Rugby Player of the Year for 2021 for his performances last year.
Kolisi, who had earlier led the Boks to a World Cup triumph in 2019 also guided them to a 2-1 series win over British and Irish Lions in August last year before captaining them to a thrilling win over New Zealand in the Rugby Championship.
“Siya led from the front as the Springboks completed what was arguably their toughest season – for many reasons – in a very long time,” said South Africa President Mark Alexander.
“Supported very well by Jacques Nienaber and his coaching team, as well as his teammates, Siya showed true leadership under challenging conditions, and he became better as the year progressed, which culminated with a spot in the World Rugby Dream Team for 2021, along with Makazole, Lukhanyo, Eben and Malcolm Marx."
The 30-year-old overcame challenges from Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Eben Etzebeth and Makazole Mapimpi to claim the award . He also became the first South African captain since Jean de Villiers in 2013 to win the top honours. For the series win over the Lions, South Africa men's side were named Team of the Year for 2021.
Meanwhile, Aphelele Fassi went on to win the Young Player of the Year award while Lusanda Dumke was named Springbok Women’s Player of the Year and also the Provincial Women’s Player of the Year.
Ronald Brown went on to win the award for Springbok Sevens Player of the Year while Henco van Wyk for his impressive outing with the Under 20 side was named Junior Springbok Player of the Year.
“Aphelele is a star in the making and last year we saw glimpses of what he can do, which is why he fully deserves the award for Young Player of the Year, while Cheslin’s try-scoring exploits are well-documented and his excellent five-pointer in the final Test against the Lions was crucial in helping the Boks clinch the series," Alexander added.
"Lusanda, Ronald and Henco are all deserved winners after stellar performances as three of our other national teams kept the South African flag flying high around the world."
Cheslin Kolbe's try in the third Test against the British and Irish Lions was named the Castle Lager Test Try of the Year was named Jake White Coach of the Year for the second year running.