Bulls captain Duane Vermeulen and his team-mates lift the Currie Cup trophy. (Photo by (Christiaan Kotze/Gallo Images)
Bulls captain Duane Vermeulen has been named SA Rugby Player of the Year for 2020.
It’s the second time the burly Springbok No 8 has won this prestigious award in his career.
Vermeulen, who led the Bulls to the Super Rugby Unlocked and Currie Cup titles, was also named Super Rugby and Super Rugby Unlocked Player of the Year.
Not surprisingly, the awards were dominated by champion team from Pretoria.
Jake White was named Coach the Year, while centre/wing Cornal Hendricks scooped the Currie Cup Player of the Year award.
Elsewhere, Blitzboks skipper Stedman Gans was named Sevens Player of the Year and Lions midfielder Wandisile Simelane the Young Player of the Year, while Jaco Peyper was named 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 Bulls with aplomb as our teams had to navigate numerous new curve balls and challenges,” SA Rugby president Mark Alexander said via a press statement.
“I would like to congratulate Jake and the Bulls on their season, as well as Wandisile, Cornal, Stedman and Jaco, but I also have to acknowledge all our teams and players who worked tirelessly under difficult circumstances to ensure that we saw some rugby on local soil in 2020.
“A lot of hard work went into making the season a reality and I would like to thank everyone who played a part in making it happen, especially our broadcast partner and sponsors, who stuck with us through tumultuous times.
“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.”
The winners and finalists for 2020 are:
SA Rugby Player of the Year: Duane Vermeulen
Finalists: Curwin Bosch, Cornal Hendricks, Steven Kitshoff, Frans Steyn
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: Bulls
Finalists: Cell C Sharks, Springbok Sevens
Coach of the Year: Jake White
Finalists: Sean Everitt, Neil Powell
Super Rugby and Unlocked Player of Year: Duane Vermeulen
Finalists: Frans Steyn, Marco van Staden
Currie Cup Player of the Year: Cornal Hendricks
Finalists: Marco van Staden, Duane Vermeulen
Referee of the Year: Jaco Peyper