Picture by : March Lewis
By: Thandeka Mnisi
The 24 year old became the second Springbok lock to be named the rugby player of the year in two seasons following Lood de Jager, who scooped the same award in the 2015 season.
Du Toit is said to be one of the most consistent and eye-catching performers of the Stormers and the SA rugby national team. His rock-solid performance for both teams in the difficult season earned him a prestigious award.
The national team “Springboks” however failed to make him first choice player until Lood de Jager was injured. Du Toit was then given an opportunity to participate in the team, and he used the opportunity well by scoring a try against Ireland and he featured heavily in this year’s Springbok season.
The Flanker was in the same category with some of Emirates Lions stars which included the likes of Eben Etzebeth, Ruan Combrinks, Jaco Kriel and Warren Whiteley. However the “Lions” scooped most of the awards, with the total of five awards.
Although he seemed surprised by the honour, Du Toit complimented the Springbok coaches for taking heat on themselves and taking responsibility for every poor result without pointing fingers at players.
“For the players, the coaches have done a very good job. Most of the time the coaches took the heat, they tried to protect us from everything and tried to leave us to focus on the game,” He said.
The acting president of SA rugby, Mark Elexander was certainly impressed with the players and the results of the awards.
“To see so many young players step up and make their mark certainly bodes well for the future and I would like to congratulate all the winners, and those who were nominated” said the president.
The glittering award ceremony took place at the Gallagher Conference Centre in Midrand, Monday, where Du Toit shinned amongst the other players.
Here’s the list of the awards:
SA Rugby Player of the Year: Pieter-Steph du Toit
Young Player of the Year: Malcolm Marx
Players Player of the Year: Jean-Luc du Preez (Sharks)
Team of the Year: Emirates Lions (Super Rugby)
Coach of the Year: Johan Ackermann (Golden Lions)
Junior Springbok Player of the Year: Curwin Bosch
SA Sevens Player of the Year: Seabelo Senatla
Vodacom Super Rugby Player of Year: Elton Jantjies (Lions)
Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year: Ox Nche (Free State Cheetahs)