The annual South African rugby awards were presented on Monday night at a banquet in Johannesburg.
The main award for SA Player of the Year was won for the second time by scrumhalf Fourie du Preez.
Also nominated were Morne Steyn, John Smit, Victor Matfield, and Heinrich Brussow. Any of these players would have been deserving of this award.
Du Preez has had an outstanding year, and is the fulcrum behind which both the Springboks and Bulls have been able to base their winning campaigns this year. He is a consistent player, who is rewarded for his hard work, and dedicated attitude.
His option taking this year has been superb, not being afraid to take quick taps and chance his arm, as evident in creating Francois Hougaard's opening try in the Currie Cup final.
Add to that his solid positional play, safety under the high ball, crisp pass, and pin point kicking game, and it is not hard to see why Fourie du Preez has been the world's premier scrumhalf since he first won the SA Rugby Player of the Year award in 2006.
Du Preez had this to say, "It’s an incredible year. I don’t think we’ll experience anything like that again and that is why the award was extra special."
He is now focused on the Springboks end of year tour, "It’s important for us to finish the year on a high, but it’s not going to be easy."
Du Preez was also pleased with the inclusion of his Bulls teammates Heini Adams and Francois Hougaard in the Bok squad, "They deserve it. I think Francois is the guy who will take over from Heini and myself when we finish playing in a year or two."
After the 2011 World Cup, du Preez may leave South Africa to play overseas, "I’m still looking around, but it’s definitely an option. It will not just be about rugby, but will also be a lifestyle choice when I go overseas."
Whilst du Preez has had a great year, the man I thought deserved the main award was Morne Steyn.
Steyn has had a superb year, being a large reason behind the Bulls and Springbok successes this year. He has played his way into the Springbok side and smashed his way into the record books. To become the fastest Springbok to 100 points against the hardest opposition he could, including having to play off the bench, speaks miles of his achievements.
He is an incredibly humble man, and it is his attitude that allows him to enjoy massive success today. A few years ago, his kicking was very wobbly, but one can see how hard he has worked with kicking coach Vlok Cilliers, to become the world's most accurate kicker.
Morne Steyn captured three awards, the prestigious Players' Player of the Year Award, as well as the Test Player of the Lions Series Award, and the Player of the Super 14 Award.
Like Steyn, Heinrich Brussow was a newcomer in the Bok team this year, and won the award of Best Provincial Player of the Lions Tour, and the Young Player of the Year Award.
Coach of the year went to Peter de Villiers, and in my view he has certainly gotten better and better, and is now one of the world's leading coaches. However, I would have given the award to Paul Treu who has had an outstanding year, and made the Springbok Sevens world title holders.
The Springboks were the SA Rugby Team of the Year, although they would have been pressed hard by the Bulls and the Springbok Sevens.
The full list of awards winners is:
SA Rugby Player of the Year – Fourie du Preez (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
Players’ Player of the Year – Morné Steyn (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
SA Rugby Young Player of the Year – Heinrich Brüssow (Vodacom Free State Cheetahs)
Test player of the Castle South Africa 2009 Lions Series – Morné Steyn (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
Provincial player of the Castle South Africa 2009 Lions Series – Heinrich Brüssow (Vodacom Free State Cheetahs)
SA Rugby Team of the Year – The Springboks
Absa Coach of the Year – Peter de Villiers
Vodacom Super 14 Player of the Year – Morné Steyn (Vodacom Bulls)
Absa Curie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year – Luke Watson (Vodacom Western Province)
Absa Curie Cup First Division Player of the Year – Allistair Kettledas (Pumas)
SuperSport Try of the Year – Jaque Fourie, 2nd Test v British & Irish Lions (Loftus Versfeld)
Sasol Sevens Player of the Year – Frankie Horne
SA Under-20 Player of the Year – Lionel Cronjé (Vodacom Free State Cheetahs)
Vodacom Cup Player of the Year – Jonathan Mokuena (GWK Griquas)
SAA Club Champs Player of the Year – Dustin Jinka (Hamiltons)
SA Rugby Women’s Rugby Achiever of the Year – Saloma Booysen (Eastern Province)
Marriott Refereeing Achievement of the Year – Jonathan Kaplan
Coca-Cola Craven Week Player of the Tournament – Andile Jho (Border)