•Fans asked to vote for top players for the first time
•Public polling in six categories opens today
•Fans to vote through Facebook, closing date October 17
•Lucky fans to attend awards
•Coaches to have biggest say in choosing players of tournaments
Rugby fans across the country will be given a voice for the first time in the selection of winners in the SARU Rugby Player of the Year awards, SARU announced on Monday.
The public will be asked to cast their votes in six of the 16 categories – including the top three awards of Player, Young Player and Team of the Year categories – as part of a major revamp of the Awards.
Media, coaches and players will also have a major say in determining the outstanding players of the season in a range of categories and competitions. Public polling for the top Award, South Africa’s Rugby Player of the Year, opened Monday 1 October with the awards due to be announced at a gala event on 1 November in Cape Town. A fan and a friend who vote during the process will be randomly drawn and invited to the awards.
Jurie Roux, SARU CEO said: “We wanted to give rugby fans a voice in the game – and a loud one at that – and the SARU Player of the Year Awards are an ideal place to do that.
“Supporters have strong opinions on who should win and this move is probably overdue. Now fans will be part of the selection process,” said Roux.
The fans’ vote would count for 50 percent of the final tally alongside the vote of the rugby media, who had exclusively decided on the winners in recent years. Fans and media will decide the marquee awards of Player of the Year; Young Player of the Year and Team of the Year awards as well as Springbok Sevens and SA Under-20 Players of the Year and SuperSport Try of the Year.
The Public will make their vote for the top award on SARU’s Facebook page. Go to www.facebook.com/springboks and vote on the specially designed app on the page. Rules of the competition and terms and conditions are available on that page.
The voting mechanisms for the other five categories are by e-mail and start on Tuesday 2 October.
The public are encouraged to send their nominations to SARUPOY2012@sarugby.co.za and vote in the following categories:
•Young Player of the Year
•Team of the Year
•Springbok Sevens Player of the Year
•SA Under-20 Player of the Year
•SuperSport Try of the Year
The closing date for the competitions is 17 October 2012.
The coaches will now exclusively decide the best players in Vodacom Super Rugby, Absa Currie Cup Premier and First Divisions and Vodacom Cup competitions. They will also choose the Coach of the Year and share responsibility for choosing the Referee of the Year with the Rugby Referees’ Society.
“We reviewed the awards with a view to making the decision-making responsibility more reflective of all the game’s key role players,” said Roux.
“Therefore the senior coaches who coach in the tournaments will choose the best players in those tournaments and the rugby media and public will have the greatest say in the general categories.
“The Awards are a major event on the rugby calendar and involving the fans and coaches more directly will add to their prestige.”
Roux said that a number of fans would be selected from those who voted to attend the awards.
The Awards were first made by the SA Rugby Writers’ Club in 1970, to coincide with the publication of the first SA Rugby Annual. Five players of the year and five young players of the year were selected.
In 1977 one of the five players of the year was identified as South Africa’s Player of the year. A specific young player of the year was not named until 2001, by which time SARU had taken on the hosting of the awards and added a number of categories.
In the past three seasons awards for coach, team and Absa Currie Cup First Division player of the year award have also been added.
Schalk Burger is the reigning Player of the Year, having won the title in 2011 to add to the one he claimed in 2004. He was the fifth player to win the title more than once, following in the footsteps of Naas Botha (4 times), Uli Schmidt (2), Bryan Habana (2) and Fourie du Preez (2).
The award categories and voting panels and eligibility criteria are as follows:
•SA Rugby Player of the Year - Media (50%), Public (50%). All South Africa-qualified players playing in SARU competitions and teams.
•Absa Young Player of the Year (U23) - Media (50%), Public (50%). Any South Africa-qualified player playing in SARU competitions and teams under the age of 23 on 1 January.
•Absa Team of the Year - Media (50%), Public (50%). Any South African team playing in our competitions or representing South Africa on the international stage.
•Absa Coach of the Year - Coaches (100%). All coaches in provincial SARU competitions, any coach of a South African team playing locally or abroad.
•Vodacom SR Player of the Year - Coaches (100%). The five franchise coaches, any South African player in Vodacom Super Rugby.
•Vodacom Cup Player of the Year - Coaches (100%). The 15 participating coaches, any South African player in Vodacom Cup.
•Absa Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year - Coaches (100%). The six participating coaches, any South African player in the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division.
•Absa Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year - Coaches (100%). The eight participating coaches, any South African player in Absa Currie Cup First Division
•SARPA Players’ Player of the Year - Players (100%). Any South African player.
•Springbok Sevens Player of the Year Media (50%), Public (50%). Any player that has represented the Springbok Sevens team on the HSBC Sevens World Series.
•Supersport Try of the Year Public (100%). Any try scored by a South African playing for a local team.
•SA U20 Player of the Year Media (50%), Public (50%). Any player that has represented the SA U20 team at the JWC.
•Coca-Cola Craven Week Player of the Year - Development Department, SARU National Selectors, Tournament Media, SA Schools Selectors, any player at the Coca-Cola U18 Craven Week.
•Marriott Referee Award - Referees (50%), Coaches (50%). Any South African referee.
•Women’s Player of the Year - Women’s Department, any player that has represented the SA Women
•SARU National Club Champs Player of the Tournament - Development Department, Tournament media, Tournament management, National selectors, any player at the National Club Champs.