Not only were WP Rugby’s professional players awarded individual trophies based on their performances throughout the 2013 season, but the Western Province Rugby Football Union also recognised all club, junior, female and referees’ performances within the union this past year.
The event was well attended on the night with the DHL WP Absa Currie Cup team present – ahead of this weekend’s semifinal against the Golden Lions – along with other key sponsors, players (seniors, juniors and club players), administrators and the local rugby media.
DHL WP Currie Cup captain Deon Fourie walked off with the most prestigious award on the night, the WP Players’ Player of the Year.
Fourie, who picked up the inaugural adidas MVP Award in 2012, was again rewarded for his consistency as a player, his leadership and never-say-die attitude – this time by his teammates, all of whom voted in this category.
Duane Vermeulen (adidas MVP Award), Steven Kitshoff (Best Forward), Jean de Villiers (Best Back), Nizaam Carr (Most Promising Senior Forward) and Damian de Allende (Most Promising Senior Back) all joined Fourie up on the podium as senior trophy winners. Currie Cup debutant Tazz Fuzani capped off his remarkable rise by being voted as the 2013 Club Player of the Year, having begun the year in the UWC Varsity Shield team and ending in the senior Currie Cup side.
Star DHL WP Women’s player Natasha Hofmeester succeeded her teammate Chantel Sieckers as the 2013 Player of the Year, whilst Marius van der Westhuizen – who will officiate Saturday’s Currie Cup semifinal between the Sharks and the Cheetahs in Durban – walked off with the 2013 WP Referee of the Year Award.
The Maties, of Stellenbosch, were officially presented with their trophy as the 2013 Super League A winners and Hamilton’s were handed the Grand Challenge Trophy as Western Province’s representatives in the 2014 Community Cup.
At Under-19 level, meanwhile, Ramone Samuels (Best Forward), Jason Worrall (Best Back) and Chad Solomon (Most Promising Player) all stood out in a tough season, whilst Oliver Kebble (Best Forward), Tim Swiel (Best Back) and Sikhumbuzo Notshe (Most Promising Player) were voted the top Under-21 players of 2013.
Like their senior counterparts, the DHL WP Under-21s will also be hosting a provincial semifinal on Saturday, the latter having lost just once this season en route to topping the log this season, picking up a staggering 54 log points from 12 matches (scoring 478 points and conceding just 193).
But, of course, all eyes will be on the main game at DHL Newlands this weekend, as the unbeaten defending champions look to win through to a first home final since 2001.
With that in mind, DHL WP coach Allister Coetzee lauded the impact of his entire squad in 2013 – right from February up until now, with the senior awards being voted for across both Vodacom Super Rugby and the Absa Currie Cup.
“It’s been a long season but we’re fortunate in this union to be able to call upon some quality players – week after week,” said Coetzee.
“Some of the selection calls that we’ve had to make in recent weeks have been the toughest of my coaching career. And when you see someone like Nizaam Carr win an award tonight, yet he cannot make our 22 at present, you realise just how much everyone has contributed to get the team to where it is now.
“But, that said, the job is by no means complete and we will be fighting tooth and nail to give the Cape public what they want – a Currie Cup Final at DHL Newlands.”
Whilst the DHL Stormers finished out of play-off contention this season for the first time since 2009, WP Rugby’s overall record at DHL Newlands has been impressive this season – the senior teams, between them at Super Rugby and Currie Cup level, losing just once in Cape Town in 2013.
Add that to a 96% win-rate at schools level for the union in 2013 – with WP collecting seven titles from the eight youth weeks on offer – and the overall future at Western Province looks very rosy.
WPRFU President Thelo Wakefield told www.wprugby.com: “Well done to all the winners – it was great to be able to pay tribute to everyone, from the clubs right up to those players in the professional ranks; some new faces, others not.
“Tonight’s awards are testament to what is being done to ensure that WP Rugby remains top across all levels and we wish our teams, the DHL WP Emerging team, the DHL WP Under-21s and the DHL WP (Absa Currie Cup) team, the best of luck in the business-end of their respective competitions.”
ALL THE INDIVIDUAL AWARD WINNERS:
DHL WP Women’s Player of the Year: Natasha Hofmeester
DHL WP Under-19 Best Forward: Ramone Samuels
DHL WP U19 Best Back: Jason Worrall
DHL WP Most Promising U19 Player: Chad Solomon
DHL WP Under-21 Best Forward: Oliver Kebble
DHL WP U21 Best Back: Tim Swiel
DHL WP Most Promising U21 Player: Sikhumbuzo Notshe
DHL WP Best Forward: Steven Kitshoff
DHL WP Best Back: Jean de Villiers
DHL WP Most Promising Senior Forward: Nizaam Carr
DHL WP Most Promising Senior Back: Damian de Allende
Clubs’ Player of the Year: Tazz Fuzani
DHL WP Referee of the Year: Marius van der Westhuizen
adidas MVP Award: Duane Vermeulen
DHL WP Players’ Player of the Year: Deon Fourie