The Springboks and national captain Siya Kolisi have been rewarded for their achievements yet again by being nominated for top Laureus awards.

The Springboks, who also won the Laureus World Team of the Year awards following their RWC triumphs in 2007 and 2019, have been nominated for the same award yet again.

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They will be up against the Manchester City Men’s Football team. The Spain Women’s Football team. European Ryder Cup Golf team, the Oracle Red Bull Racing Formula-1 team, and Germany’s Men’s Basketball team.

Kolisi, who defied the odds by recovering from a serious knee injury he suffered in April to lead the Boks to their second RWC title in a row in October, has been nominated for the Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award.

The Laureus Awards, which honours, recognises and celebrates the world’s greatest athletes, the inspirational power of sport and its ability to change lives, will be hosted in Madrid in April.

Springboks and Kolisi nominated for Laureus awards
Springboks lift the World Cup Trophy

SA RUGBY PROUD AFTER SPRINGBOKS WERE NOMINATED FOR THE LAUREUS AWARDS

SA Rugby President Mr Mark Alexander was proud of the recognition the Springboks and Kolisi received for their brave efforts to become the first country to win the Rugby World Cup four times and wished them luck for their respective awards.

“The Springboks deserve every ounce of recognition they receive for their massive accomplishment in France last year, and we are delighted to see them in line for the Laureus World Team of the Year Award,” said Mr Alexander.

“Their heroics on and off the field were remarkable, especially considering their tough road to the World Cup final.

“But the victory in France was more than just an 80-minute rugby match – it was a triumph for South Africa both in nation building and social cohesion, and we hope that the effects of the Boks’ success will continue to radiate through the sport and transfer to other sporting codes for years to come.”

Mr Alexander also praised Kolisi, who staged a dramatic recovery from a serious knee injury which many thought placed his Rugby World Cup hopes in doubt, thanks to his hard work and intense rehabilitation to lead the team by example on the field.

“Siya’s hard work and determination to recover for the World Cup, and the fact that he managed to achieve this feat beyond all doubts was special,” said Mr Alexander.

“It takes a warrior to do something so remarkable, and that journey made it even more extraordinary to see him lift the cup for the second time in a row.

“We are extremely proud of the Springboks and Siya, and we wish them luck for the awards ceremony.”

Five members of the Rugby World Cup-winning Springbok squad are nominees for the award at the SA Rugby Awards.
The winners will be named early next year, along with the annual Referee of the Year and the Provincial Women’s Player of the Year.

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Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Frans Malherbe and Damian Willemse are nominated for the coveted SA Rugby Men’s Player of the Year Award for 2023.

The categories for Coach and Team of the Year are straight shootouts between Jacques Nienaber and the Springboks, John Dobson and the DHL Stormers, and Hawies Fourie and the Toyota Cheetahs.

SA RUGBY AWARDS NOMINEES IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER

SA Rugby Men’s Player of the Year
Pieter-Steph du Toit
Eben Etzebeth
Siya Kolisi
Frans Malherbe
Damian Willemse

Springbok Women’s Player of the Year
Aseza Hele
Libbie Janse van Rensburg
Babalwa Latsha
Rights Mkhari
Nadine Roos

SA Rugby Young Player of the Year
Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu (DHL Stormers)
Jaden Hendrikse (Springboks / Hollywoodbets Sharks)
Canan Moodie (Springboks / Vodacom Bulls)
Evan Roos (Springboks / DHL Stormers)
Ruan Venter (Emirates Lions)

Springbok Sevens Men’s Player of the Year
Ricardo Duarttee
Christie Grobbelaar
Shilton van Wyk

Junior Springbok Player of the Year
Corne Beets
Paul de Villiers
Damian Markus

Team of the Year
Toyota Cheetahs (Currie Cup)
Springboks
DHL Stormers (Vodacom URC)

Coach of the Year
John Dobson (DHL Stormers)
Hawies Fourie (Toyota Cheetahs)
Jacques Nienaber (Springboks)

Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year
Tinus de Beer (Airlink Pumas)
Ruan Pienaar (Toyota Cheetahs)
Devon Williams (Airlink Pumas)

Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year
Keagan Fortune (Valke)
Darian Hock (Boland Kavaliers)
Cameron Hufke (Boland Kavaliers

Springboks captain Siya Kolisi says they knew it would take something special to beat France in the Rugby World Cup quarter-final on Sunday. The Boks are through to the World Cup semi-final after a 29-28 win in Paris.

They will face England in the last four on Saturday, while Argentina and New Zealand will meet in the first semi-final on Friday.

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“We worked together as a team and we talked a lot about never giving up,” said Kolisi.

“We knew it would take something special and we did it today. France asked a lot of questions of us, but the character we showed stood out.

“We had a clear plan on what we needed to do, especially at the breakdown. We had to fight for one another, especially in the last eight minutes of the yellow card. I’m proud of the guys and the discipline they showed,” he said.

SPRINGBOKS BEAT FRANCE IN EPIC QUARTER-FINAL

Head coach Jacques Nienaber was equally proud of the team.

“We knew how tough it would be to come to France and face the French. They’ve been playing well and were consistent in their performances.

“They’ve also been building well as a team, so we knew it was going to be a proper Test match and it was always going to be tight. Many of the games (in the tournament) have been won and lost in the last eight minutes.”

Kolisi added to the coach’s sentiments.

“To latch onto what Jacques said, their team has been building for four years and we knew it would take everything (to win),” said Kolisi.

“For their captain to come back from an injury and the play the way he did was good.

“We knew how loud and intense it would be at the stadium, but the French people can be proud of their team. It was a tough game, and we knew it would take something special.”

While Nienaber was open about his excitement, he said the Boks still had work to do if they wanted to defend their title.

“There were good things and other things we didn’t do so well,” said Nienaber, “but there was the pressure of a knock-out game, and we know there is a lot we need to work on going forward.”

The Springboks will move hotels in Paris on Monday and will have the day off to rest and recover before returning to training on Tuesday for the semi-final.

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi says the Squad embraces the pressure that comes with winning back-to-back Rugby World Cup titles.

The Springbok World Cup squad led by Kolisi was announced on Tuesday in Randburg, Gauteng. The tournament will commence on 8 September – 28 October 2023 in France. South Africa are in Pool B alongside Ireland, Scotland, Tonga and Romania.

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Kolisi has vowed that his team would give their best to achieve the special feat. They are also set to become the first team to lift the Webb Ellis Cup four times if they eventually win it.

“We know what the country wants and expects, and we want the same thing,” he said.

Kolisi is also set to return to full team training on Monday following knee surgery.

“We love the pressure because there was a time that no one wanted to see us play. So, we embrace the pressure, and we want to do something special that has only been done by New Zealand to win back-to-back World Cups, and also to become the first team to win it four times.”

Siya Kolisi wants to guide the Springbok team to back-to-back Rugby World Cup titles
Springbok World Cup squad

BOKS AIMING FOR BACK-TO-BACK WORLD CUP TITLES

The Boks will kick off their Rugby World Cup campaign against Scotland in Marseille on Sunday, 10 September. They will then face Romania in Bordeaux (17 September), Ireland in Paris (23 September) and Tonga in Marseille (1 October) in their other pool matches.

“We know what it will mean to us and the country. As Coach Rassie (Erasmus – SA Rugby Director of Rugby) said in 2019, it’s not pressure, it’s a privilege,” added Kolisi.

He is set to play in his third World Cup. “It’s always special to be part of the group. There are so many guys that could have been selected and didn’t make it, so for those of us who were selected.

“We have the responsibility to ensure we play for them too.”

The Springboks had their first field training session of the week on Wednesday morning following the team’s arrival from Buenos Aires on Monday. They will have two more before the team’s official farewell on Saturday.

Springbok hooker Bongi Mbonambi will captain the side for the first time when they take on Argentina in Buenos Aires on Saturday. The match is the first of three Rugby World Cup warm-up games. There has been 13 changes to the starting line-up, while the 23 includes talented prop Gerhard Steenekamp, who could make his Springbok debut.

Meanwhile, Mbonambi will also earn his 60th Test cap this weekend. He takes over the captain’s responsibilities in the absence of the regular captain, Siya Kolisi. Kolisi is making encouraging progress following surgery on his knee.

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Stand-in captains Eben Etzebeth and Duane Vermeulen have remained behind in South Africa with a group of players in a conditioning camp.

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber named a vastly different matchday squad to the side that defeated Argentina 22-21 at Emirates Airline Park last week. The only two players who retained their places in the starting team were flyhalf Manie Libbok and lock Marvin Orie.

Mbonambi will form a strong front row with props Trevor Nyakane and Thomas du Toit. Jean Kleyn will earn his second start in a lock combination with Orie.

Nienaber also named a physical loose trio with flankers Deon Fourie and Franco Mostert, and No 8 Jasper Wiese, while experienced scrumhalf Cobus Reinach will join forces with Libbok at halfback.

The backline also features grunt and class as Makazole Mapimpi, Canan Moodie (both wings) and Damian Willemse (fullback) form an exciting back three, while Andre Esterhuizen and Lukhanyo Am – who has been named vice-captain for the match – will pair up in the midfield.

 SA Rugby Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus is expected to join the squad in Argentina on Thursday after working with the group of players who remained in South Africa in the last few days.

Bongi Mbonambi to captain the Springbok team against Argentina
Bongi Mbonambi

BONGI MBONANI TO DEPUTIES AS CAPTAIN 

15 – Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers) – 30 caps, 36 pts (2t, 4c, 4p, 2d)

14 – Canan Moodie (Vodacom Bulls) – 5 caps, 5 pts (1t)

13 – Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks) – 34 caps, 30 pts (6t)

12 – Andre Esterhuizen (Harlequins) – 12 caps, 0 pts

11 – Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks) – 37 caps, 110 pts (22t)

10 – Manie Libbok (DHL Stormers) – 6 caps, 31 pts (1t, 10c, 2p)

9 – Cobus Reinach (Montpellier) – 25 caps, 45 pts (9t)

8 – Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers) – 21 caps, 5 pts (1t)

7 – Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) – 64 caps, 15 pts (3t)

6 – Deon Fourie (DHL Stormers) – 6 caps, 0 pts

5 – Marvin Orie (DHL Stormers) – 13 caps, 0 pts

4 – Jean Kleyn (Munster) – 1 cap, 0 points (Ireland 5 caps)

3 – Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks) – 17 caps, 0 pts

2 – Bongi Mbonambi (captain, Cell C Sharks) – 59 caps, 60 pts (12t)

1 – Trevor Nyakane (Cell C Sharks) – 59 caps, 5 pts (1t)

REPLACEMENTS

16 – Joseph Dweba (DHL Stormers) – 5 caps, 0 pts

17 – Gerhard Steenekamp (Vodacom Bulls) – uncapped

18 – Vincent Koch (Cell C Sharks) – 44 caps, 0 pts

19 – Jean-Luc du Preez (Sale Sharks) – 13 caps, 10 pts (2t)

20 – Evan Roos (DHL Stormers) – 4 caps, 0 pts

21 – Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers) – 23 caps, 25 pts (5t)

22 – Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles) – 60 caps, 60 pts (12t)

23 – Kurt-Lee Arendse (Vodacom Bulls) – 9 caps, 50 pts (10t)

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber and SA Rugby Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus gave the nation good news regarding Siya Kolisi recovery on Wednesday. The pair remain hopeful that the Springbok captain would return to the field before the Rugby World Cup.

However, they stressed that their focus currently was on the Castle Lager Rugby Championship.

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“Siya is on track with his rehabilitation, and he’s hitting all his targets,” said Nienaber.

Erasmus added: “Our target at this stage is to have Siya ready to play one or two warm-up games before the World Cup.”

Springbok give update on Siya Kolisi recovery
Springbok squad

However, Nienaber said it was important for the squad to focus on the first task at hand in a season which features a condensed Castle Lager Rugby Championship, three World Cup warm-up games and the tournament itself.

“The World Cup is obviously the big one for us this year, but our focus is on our first Test against Australia,” he said.

“We have a plan for the Castle Lager Rugby Championship and then we have World Cup warm-up matches against Argentina, Wales and New Zealand before we move into the World Cup.”

BOKS SKIPPER ON WAY BACK FROM RECOVERY

With Kolisi set to miss the southern hemisphere showpiece, Erasmus said just to name a few players, there were a number of potential interim captains in the squad for the other Tests. These include Steven Kitshoff (prop), Eben Etzebeth (lock), Duane Vermeulen, Pieter-Steph du Toit (both loose forwards), Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am (both centres).

Erasmus, however, revealed that there was a concern at flyhalf in the training squad following a delay in Handre Pollard’s recovery from a leg injury, while Damian Willemse took a knock to the knee.

The SA Rugby on Wednesday announced that they would continue to monitor the progress of Springbok captain Siya Kolisi. This follows surgery on an injury suffered to his right knee in a recent Vodacom United Rugby Championship match.

SPRINGBOK TO MONITOR SITUATION

Kolisi underwent the operation on Friday. Springbok team doctor Jerome Mampane and his medical team are expected to continue to monitor his recovery and rehabilitation.

Springbok management to monitor Siya Kolisi's progress
Springbok captain Siya Kolisi

There were fears that the 31-year-old could miss the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France. But Mampane said it was too early to make any reliable forecasts on when Kolisi may be able to return to play.

Also read: Springbok captain Siya Kolisi joins French Top 14 club Racing 92

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber says they will do everything possible for him to return early.

“We wish Siya well during his recovery and we know that he will do everything possible to return to play soon as possible.”

Springbok player Eben Etzebeth has won the SA Rugby’s Player of the Year for 2022 at the SA Rugby Awards following a string of excellent performances last year.

Etzebeth, who made his Test debut in 2012 and reached his 100th Test against Wales in July earned the award for the first time. He narrowly lost out to Springbok captain Siya Kolisi in 2021.

The OUTsurance Referee of the Year, for a second successive season, is Aimee Barrett-Theron, who represented South Africa at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand

FULL LIST OF 2022 SA RUGBY AWARDS WINNERS

SA Rugby Player of the Year: Eben Etzebeth

Finalists: Lukhanyo Am, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Siya Kolisi, Frans Malherbe

SA Rugby Young Player of the Year: Canan Moodie (Springboks / Vodacom Bulls)

Finalists: Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu (Junior Springboks / South Africa ‘A’ / DHL Stormers), Jaden Hendrikse (Springboks / Cell C Sharks), Evan Roos (Springboks / DHL Stormers), Henco van Wyk (South Africa ‘A’ / Emirates Lions)

Springbok Women’s Player of the Year: Nadine Roos

Finalists: Lusanda Dumke, Aseza Hele, Zintle Mpupha, Aphiwe Ngwevu

Sevens Player of the Year: JC Pretorius

Finalists: Selvyn Davids, Zain Davids

Junior Springbok Player of the Year: Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu

Finalists: Suleiman Hartzenberg, Ruan Venter

Team of the Year: DHL Stormers

Finalists: Airlink Pumas, Springboks

Coach of the Year: John Dobson (DHL Stormers)

Finalists: Jacques Nienaber (Springboks), Jimmy Stonehouse (Airlink Pumas)

Carling Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year: Sebastian de Klerk (Airlink Pumas)

Finalists: Willie Engelbrecht (Airlink Pumas), Devon Williams (Airlink Pumas)

SA Rugby Awards winner and Springbok lock Eben Etzbeth in action
Springbok lock Eben Etzbeth in action

Carling Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year: Jaywinn Juries (Down Touch Griffons)

Finalists: Jaiden Baron (Boland Kavaliers), Duan Pretorius (Down Touch Griffons)

Provincial Women’s Player of the Year: Lusanda Dumke (Border Ladies)

OUTsurance Referee of the Year: Aimee Barrett-Theron

Vodacom United Rugby Championship Player of the Season: Evan Roos (DHL Stormers)

Finalists: Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks), Marcell Coetzee (Vodacom Bulls), Warrick Gelant (DHL Stormers), Ruan Nortje (Vodacom Bulls), Vincent Tshituka

SA RUGBY LAUDS SPRINGBOK LOCK EBEN ETZEBETH

President of SA Rugby, Mark Alexander, congratulated the winners and applauded their achievements.

“Eben has been a Springbok stalwart for more than a decade and it’s just amazing to see how he keeps getting better with age,” he said.

“Playing with maturity and providing valuable leadership to the Springboks,” Alexander.

“The Boks are building on depth and experience with an eye on the Rugby World Cup later this year, and I think they are in a good space under the coaching of Jacques Nienaber and the captaincy of Siya, but Eben’s role can’t be underestimated as he is not only the most experienced member of the squad, but he also sets the example for younger players and was widely regarded as one of the best players on the planet last year.”

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South Africa captain Siya Kolisi will join French Top 14 club Racing 92 on a multi-year deal after the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Siya Kolisi currently plays for the Cell C Sharks in the United Rugby Championship.

The 31-year-old led the Springboks to World Cup glory in Japan in 2019, where they beat England in the final.

He was on long-term five year contract that started in 2021 with the Sharks. But the KZN franchise have granted Kolisi an early release.

They were sympathetic to his request to be able to spend more time with his family by living away from the intense glare of the South African rugby spotlight.

SIYA KOLOSI GREATFUL

“I want to give massive thanks to the Sharks for welcoming me with open arms in 2021 and for making me feel so at home in Durban,” Kolisi said in a statement on social media.

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi
Springbok captain Siya Kolisi

“Their support over the last couple of years has been hugely influential during a key period in my career.”

LAST MATCH FOR SHARKS

Kolisi will still play for the Sharks for the rest of the current season. This means that he could yet still fulfill his dream of adding to his World Cup winners medal by leading the Sharks to victory in the Heineken Champions Cup or the Vodacom United Rugby Championship.

The Sharks were in France just before Christmas and are now on their way via a long journey via Doha and London to Galway. They will face Connacht in their next URC match on Saturday night.

Springbok captain, Siya Kolisi has thrown his support for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup taking place from 10 -26 February 2023.

With 50 days to go until the 10 best teams in the world compete for the ultimate prize in Women’s T20 cricket. Siya Kolisi has urged the world to turn it up for the historic showpiece.

The Proteas will face Sri Lanka in their opening match at Newlands Cricket Ground on Friday 10 February.

“There is nothing better than hosting a World Cup on South African soil,” said Kolisi.

WOMEN’S T20 WORLD CUP EXCITES SIYA KOLISI

“I know the whole nation will be behind our Proteas women as they were during the past T20 World Cup held in Australia. I am excited to see them play, I want to wish them all the best. Hopefully they know that we will all be there, there is nothing to fear, they must go out there, do their best and turn it up like they always do.”

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi
Springbok captain Siya Kolisi

Kolisi’s home-town of Gqeberha will be hosting five matches during the tournament. This includes a blockbuster double-header on Saturday 18 February at St George’s Park featuring England versus India in the afternoon, at 3pm. Also, South Africa versus Australia in the evening, at 7pm.

The Proteas will be looking to do better than their 2020 semi-final exit when they face defending Champions Australia for the first time at a World Cup at home.

HISTORY IN THE MAKING

This is the first time South Africa will be hosting the Women’s T20 World Cup. Fans are encouraged to turn it up to be a part of history. The Women’s T20 World Cup will leave a lasting legacy to shape the future of the women’s game on the continent.

“This is an exciting day for us as we mark 50 days to go until the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa,’ Tournament Director, Russell Adams said. “The excitement around the country is building as we prepare to host the 10 best teams in the world for 15 days of non-stop action and entertainment. Fans have an opportunity to be part of history and should not miss out before tickets sell out.”