The Springboks as well as South Africa’s Director of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus, have been nominated for prestigious honours in the World Rugby awards.
This brings the total of South African rugby’s nominations for 2019 to four. The nominations follow the listing of Herschel Jantjies as one of the three contenders for the award of Breakthrough Player of the Year and Cobus Reinach’s hat-trick (third try) score against Canada as Try of the Year.
The Springboks have been named as contenders for the title of Team of the Year while Erasmus is among the five nominations for Coach of the Year.
Should Erasmus be named coach of the year, it will only be the third time that this award goes to a South African coach. Jake White, in the year that he took over the Boks coaching in 2004 and also in 2007 when the Springboks last won the World Cup, was twice voted as Coach of the Year.
It is not necessarily the coach of the World Cup winners that is awarded in a year when the RWC tournament is played for. Michael Cheika of Australia received the Coach of the Year award in 2015 when his side lost the final to the All Blacks.
Regarding the teams voted Team of the Year, the award has gone to the RWC winners on all four occasions since the awards were first introduced in 2001 (see list below).
The Springboks were last named Team of the Year a decade ago (2009) and the last South African to be named Coach of the Year was Jake White, 12 years ago.
Erasmus was also nominated for the award in 2018. The winners will be announced at the World Rugby Awards dinner in Tokyo on Sunday evening.
♦ The 2019 finalists in both categories, Coach of the Year and Team of the Year, are the four Rugby World Cup semi-finalists and Japan.
Nominees for Team of the Year are South Africa, England, Wales, New Zealand and Japan.
Coach of the Year nominees are Erasmus, Eddie Jones, Warren Gatland, Steve Hansen and Jamie Joseph.
The shortlists were selected by a panel comprising former international players Maggie Alphonsi, Brian O’Driscoll and Agustín Pichot, alongside former coaches Nick Mallett and Clive Woodward, the World Rugby Coach of the Year in 2003 after guiding England to the Rugby World Cup in Sydney.
Citation regarding Springboks and Erasmus –
In the citation regarding the Springboks, World Rugby said:
“The Rugby Championship winners are bidding to create Rugby World Cup history by becoming the first team to lift the Webb Ellis Cup after losing a match, against New Zealand in their Pool B opener. That loss, 23-13, is their only one of the year, having won nine and drawn the other of their 11 tests. The Springboks have risen to number two in the World Rugby Men’s Rankings for the first time in more than four years after reaching a first RWC final since 2007.”
World Rugby said of Erasmus:
“It might not have been Rassie Erasmus’ intention to become Springbok head coach when he returned to South Africa but he has taken to the role with aplomb. An astute tactician, he has bonded the team together impressively and been rewarded with results. This year South Africa have won the Rugby Championship title and recovered from a pool-stage defeat to the All Blacks to power into the Rugby World Cup 2019 final.”
Nominations for World Player of the Year will be announced on Friday.
World Rugby Team of the Year Award winners:
2018 – Ireland
2017 – New Zealand Women’s 15s
2016 – New Zealand
2015 – New Zealand (RWC winner)
2014 – New Zealand
2013 – New Zealand
2012 – New Zealand
2011 – New Zealand (RWC winner)
2010 – New Zealand
2009 – South Africa
2008 – New Zealand
2007 – South Africa (RWC winner)
2006 – New Zealand
2005 – New Zealand
2004 – South Africa
2003 – England (RWC winner)
2002 – France
2001 – Australia
Previous World Rugby Coach of the Year Award winners:
2018 – Joe Schmidt (Ireland)
2017 – Eddie Jones (England)
2016 – Steve Hansen (New Zealand)
2015 – Michael Cheika (Australia)
2014 – Steve Hansen (New Zealand)
2013 – Steve Hansen (New Zealand)
2012 – Steve Hansen (New Zealand)
2011 – Graham Henry (New Zealand)
2010 – Graham Henry (New Zealand)
2009 – Declan Kidney (Ireland)
2008 – Graham Henry (New Zealand)
2007 – Jake White (South Africa)
2006 – Graham Henry (New Zealand)
2005 – Graham Henry (New Zealand)
2004 – Jake White (South Africa)
2003 – Clive Woodward (England)
2002 – Bernard Laporte (France)2001 – Rod Macqueen (Australia)
Article by author and info issued by SA Rugby Communications