Rugby fans across the country will again be given a voice in the selection of the winners in the SARU Rugby Player of the Year Awards, SARU announced on Tuesday.
The public will be asked to cast their votes in the two main categories, Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year.
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, will open on 19 November 2013 with the awards due to be announced at a gala event on 12 February 2014 in Johannesburg.
A lucky participating fan will be drawn randomly and invited to the awards with a partner.
Jurie Roux, SARU CEO said: “It is again very pleasing that we are able to give our rugby fans a voice in the game, and the SARU Player of the Year Awards is an ideal platform to do so.
Last year proved that supporters have strong opinions on who should win and the feedback was great, hence the decision to make the public part of the polling process again,” said Roux.
Roux said that 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 on the marquee awards of Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year.
“The Awards are a highlight on the South African rugby calendar, and involving the fans and coaches more directly will no doubt add to the prestige of the event.”
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 the page.
The voting mechanism for the Young Player of the Year Award is via e-mail and starts on Tuesday 19 November 2013.
The public are encouraged to send their nominations to SARUPOY2013@sarugby.co.za.
Similarly to last year, the coaches will again exclusively decide the best players in Vodacom Super Rugby, the Absa Currie Cup Premier and First Divisions and the Vodacom Cup competitions.
They will also choose the Coach of the Year and share the responsibility for choosing the Referee of the Year with the Rugby Referees’ Society.
Bryan Habana is the reigning Player of the Year, having won the title in 2012 to add to the titles he claimed in 2005 and 2007.
The veteran Springbok wing is now one award short of legendary flyhalf Naas Botha’s record haul of four titles.
The award categories, 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 (players who played locally during 2013 before joining overseas clubs are also eligible)
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%) Coaches (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 16 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%), Coach (50%) - Any player that has represented the Springbok Sevens team on the HSBC Sevens World Series.
Supersport Try of the Year: SuperSport Rugby Panel (100%) Any try scored by a South African playing for a local team.
SA U20 Player of the Year: Media (50%), Coach (50%) - Any player that represented the SA U20 team at the JWC.
Coca-Cola Craven Week Player of the Year: Development Department, SARU National Selectors, 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 Rugby Department - Any player that has represented the SA Women
Cell C Community Cup Player of the Tournament: Development Department, Tournament Media, Tournament management, National selectors - Any player in the Cell C Community Cup.
The closing date for public voting is 27 November 2013.