Durban, 1st November 2017: At an Awards ceremony held at Sun Sibaya this evening, the Cell C Sharks honoured players who have had an outstanding impact both on and off the field during the 2017 rugby season.
This season showed a definite improvement, with a place in the Vodacom Super Rugby knock-out rounds and then in the Currie Cup, winning 10 matches in a row to finish the regular stages top of the log, in an unassailable position to host the semi-final and then the final at Growthpoint KINGS PARK.
The Super Rugby Player of the Season Award went to the most consistent player in the competition, someone showing ability and dedication during the course of the tournament. Lukhanyo Am’s Vodacom Super Rugby performances earned him selection to the Bok squad, but injury kept him from representing his country.
He was an outstanding campaigner all season and contributed enormously in every game he played.
The Players’ Player of the Year Award is the best recognition a player can receive because it comes from his peers and team-mates, people you play with all the time. Jean-Luc du Preez was a worthy recipient, having enjoyed a fantastic season both for the Cell C Sharks and the Springboks.
The Fans’ Player of the Year Award is unique in this setting but because one of our key values is community, we wanted our fans to have their voices heard and be a part of the voting process for their own award.
The community voted for Lukhanyo Am and he will be presented with his award on the night by a Sharks super fan which makes this an incredibly special award. The Ambassador Award is given to a player who speaks of our values of community, respect, pride, teamwork and work ethic. Michael Claassens is someone who always has the team’s best interests at heart, brings good energy with his excited spirit and ultimately is a player liked by everybody.
Breakthrough Performer of the Year went to a youngster who has only recently hit the scene, but had a fantastic season. Despite only turning 21 earlier this year, he never displayed any qualities other than wonderful temperament and maturity beyond his years. His exploits on the wing were simply magical and the only disappointment on his shining record is an injury in the Currie Cup semi-final which means he won’t play for the Springboks on their end of year tour.
The Currie Cup Player of the Season was awarded to Ruan Botha who led the side with aplomb. His captaincy was outstanding, he led from the front and the team’s successes during their campaign revolved around his leadership.
The final and most prestigious Cell C Sharks Award of the evening was awarded to Coenie Oosthuizen for Player of the Year. His work-rate around the field, impressive scrumming and all-round enthusiasm makes him not only a vital member of the team, but also a well-liked and highly-respected one.
Categories and Winners:
Cell C Sharks U/19 Player of the season: Jacques Ackermann
Cell C Sharks U/21 Player of the season: Courtney Winnaar
Cell C Sharks XV Player of the season: Hyron Andrews
Cell C Sharks Super Rugby Player of the season: Lukhanyo Am
Cell C Sharks Currie Cup Player of the season: Ruan Botha
Ambassador Award: Michael Claassens
Breakthrough Performer of the Year: Sbusiso Nkosi
Fan’s Player of the Year: Lukhanyo Am
Player’s Player of the Year: Jean-Luc du Preez
Player of the Year: Coenie Oosthuizen