Duane Vermeulen led the charge as the Vodacom Bulls almost made a clean sweep at the annual SA Rugby Awards for the 2020 season, with the Springbok No 8 being named Player of the Year for a second time.
Vermeulen walked off with two awards, including the overall gong for SA Rugby Player of the Year, while the Vodacom Bulls, champions of Vodacom Super Rugby Unlocked and the Carling Currie Cup, won in almost every other category.
It was therefore no surprise that the Vodacom Bulls were named Team of the Year and their Director of Rugby, Jake White, was Coach of the Year.
Cornal Hendricks capped a brilliant season by walking away with the accolade for Carling Currie Cup Player of the Year, and Jaco Peyper was named the OUTsurance Referee of the Year.
“It was a very tough season but Duane was superb – not only on the field, where his performances were on par with the very high standard we’ve become accustomed to from him, but he also led the Vodacom Bulls with aplomb as our teams had to navigate numerous new curve balls and challenges,” said Mr Mark Alexander, President of SA Rugby.
“The pandemic has been disruptive to people from all walks of life and apart from the hard work done in training, first at home and later back at their team bases, it was heartening to see our players rolling up their sleeves and also helping fellow South Africans who are not as fortunate. We saw yet again that we are stronger, together.”
Commenting on Vermeulen’s exploits in Vodacom Super Rugby and Unlocked, Liam Dobell, Head of Rugby at Vodacom, said: “Vodacom is proud to recognise Duane Vermeulen as the Vodacom Super Rugby and Vodacom Super Rugby Unlocked Player of the Year.
“We continue being very proud sponsors of such an amazing tournament that showcases and rewards the Champions in the Carling Currie Cup,” added Rust.
OUTsurance CEO, Danie Matthee, congratulated the experienced Peyper on his award: “Congratulations to Jaco Peyper for a great performance throughout a challenging year. There’s no denying the impeccable quality of the SA Rugby Referees and we’re proud to invest in growing this talent even further.”
SA Rugby Young Player of the Year: Wandisile Simelane
Finalists: Curwin Bosch, Stedman Gans, Ruan Nortje, Dylan Richardson
Springbok Sevens Player of the Year: Stedman Gans
Finalists: Angelo Davids, Selvyn Davids
Team of the Year: Vodacom Bulls
Finalists: Cell C Sharks, Springbok Sevens
Coach of the Year: Jake White
Finalists: Sean Everitt, Neil Powell
Vodacom Super Rugby and Unlocked Player of Year: Duane Vermeulen
Finalists: Frans Steyn, Marco van Staden
Carling Currie Cup Player of the Year: Cornal Hendricks
Finalists: Marco van Staden, Duane Vermeulen
OUTsurance Referee of the Year: Jaco Peyper
Story Courtesy/SA Rugby