South African rugby supporters can nail their colours to the mast by voting for the best Springbok and Blitzbok players, and a few superb tries scored by the Boks in the last decade, after World Rugby announced on Thursday that fans around the world will have a say in the World Rugby Awards Special Edition by selecting the best players and tries of the decade (2010-19).
Six fans’ choice categories open today, with nominees selected from previous World Rugby Award winners. Voting closes next Sunday, 25 October, while the World Rugby Awards panel will also select a men’s and women’s 15s Team of the Decade in the remaining two categories.
The Final winners will be unveiled during the virtual World Rugby Awards on Monday, 7 December 2020.
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The various South Africans up for awards are Pieter-Steph du Toit, Cecil Afrika, Werner Kok, Seabelo Senatla, Bryan Habana and Francois Hougaard.
Du Toit – a three-time SA Rugby Player of the Year – was named World Rugby Player of the Year after the Boks won the Rugby World Cup in Japan last year.
The three Blitzboks, Afrika, Kok and Senatla, have all been crowned World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year in the last decade during a time when the Springbok Sevens team won the World Series twice.
Habana and Hougaard have both walked away with the Try of the Year awards in the last 10 years – the Springbok wing for his sublime effort against New Zealand in Dunedin in 2012, and the nuggety Bok scrumhalf for rounding off a great move from their own 22 against the All Blacks in Johannesburg in 2014.
Fans are likely to have a selection headache in choosing between rugby legends and will be asked to consider criteria such as length of rugby career, performance in key matches, leadership qualities and projecting rugby’s values when they cast their vote for Player of the Decade.
The World Rugby Awards special edition will also shine the spotlight on members of the rugby family who showcased great solidarity during the COVID-19 pandemic, supporting their communities, getting involved in relief efforts, and showcasing the sport’s character-building values.
The event will be co-hosted by former England international and World Rugby Hall of Fame inductee Maggie Alphonsi and rugby presenter Alex Payne on Monday, 7 December. The show will be available for rugby fans globally to watch via World Rugby digital channels.
Nominees for World Rugby Men’s 15s Player of the Decade in association with Tudor
Richie McCaw (NZL), Thierry Dusautoir (FRA), Dan Carter (NZL), Kieran Read (NZL), Brodie Retallick (NZL), Beauden Barrett (NZL), Johnny Sexton (IRE), Pieter-Steph du Toit (RSA)
Nominees for World Rugby Men’s Sevens Player of the Decade in association with HSBC
Mikaele Pesamino (SAM), Cecil Afrika (RSA), Tomasi Cama (NZL), Tim Mikkelson (NZL), Samisoni Viriviri (FJI), Werner Kok (RSA), Seabelo Senatla (RSA), Perry Baker (USA), Jerry Tuwai (FJI)
Nominees for International Rugby Players Men’s 15s Try of the Decade
Chris Ashton v Australia, 2010 (ENG); Radike Samo v New Zealand, 2011 (AUS); Bryan Habana v New Zealand, 2012 (RSA); Beauden Barrett v France, 2013 (NZL); Francois Hougaard v New Zealand, 2014 (RSA); Julian Savea v France, 2015 (NZL); Jamie Heaslip v Italy, 2016 (IRE); Joaquin Tuculet v England, 2017 (ARG); Brodie Retallick v Australia, 2018 (NZL); TJ Perenara v Namibia, 2019 (NZL)
Nominees for World Rugby Women’s 15s Player of the Decade in association with Tudor
Carla Hohepa (NZL), Michaela Staniford (ENG), Magali Harvey (CAN), Kendra Cocksedge (NZL), Sarah Hunter (ENG), Jessy Trémoulière (FRA), Emily Scarratt (ENG), Portia Woodman (NZL)
Nominees for World Rugby Women’s Sevens Player of the Decade in association with HSBC
Kayla McAlister (NZL), Emilee Cherry (AUS), Portia Woodman (NZL), Charlotte Caslick (AUS), Michaela Bylde (NZL), Ruby Tui (NZL)
Nominees for International Rugby Players Women’s 15s Try of the Decade
Alison Miller v New Zealand, 2014 (IRE), Magali Harvey v France, 2014 (CAN), Megan York v France, 2016 (WAL), Danielle Waterman v Canada, 2016 (ENG), Portia Woodman v USA, 2017 (NZL)
The two remaining two categories, Men’s and Women’s 15s Teams of the Decade, will be selected by the World Rugby Awards panel, a stellar team of rugby legends who choose the annual World Rugby Awards player, team and coach winners.
Men’s 15s Team of the Decade panel: Maggie Alphonsi (ENG), Fiona Coghlan (IRE), Thierry Dusautoir (FRA), George Gregan (AUS), Richie McCaw (NZL), Brian O’Driscoll (IRE), Melodie Robinson (NZL), John Smit (RSA) and Clive Woodward (ENG)
Women’s 15s Team of the Decade panel: Maggie Alphonsi (ENG), Liza Burgess (WAL), Lynne Cantwell (IRE), Fiona Coghlan (IRE), Stephen Jones (ENG), Gaëlle Mignot (FRA), Jillion Potter (USA), Melodie Robinson (NZL), Karl TeNana (NZL) and Danielle Waterman (ENG).
Issued by SA Rugby Communications and World Rugby