Gavin Rich’s rugby awards for 2013

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

Team of the Year

YOU can’t ar­gue with a 100% record, so the All Blacks are un­de­ni­ably the team of the year.

Player of the Year

FOR once the IRB got it right in their Player of the Year. Whether it is for Cru­saders or the All Blacks, Kieran Read is just sheer class.

SA Man of the Year

OLD MAN RIVER, who used to be Keith An­drews but is now Jean de Vil­liers, just keeps rolling on and was an in­spi­ra­tion to the Boks both on and off the field in 2013.

SA Player of the Year

DUANE VER­MEULEN (right)

SA Coach of the Year

HEYNEKE MEYER

Most ex­cit­ing new player

CH­ES­LIN KOLBE (cen­tre)

Try of the Year

JUST be­cause of what it meant, the long build-up try off the fi­nal move of the game that the All Blacks scored to win in Dublin has to be re­mem­bered as the stand-out score of 2013.

Match of the Year

FOR spec­ta­cle this has to go to the SA/NZ Rugby Cham­pi­onship de­cider, but the most ab­sorb­ing con­test was the Dublin clash be­tween Ire­land and the All Blacks.

Per­for­mance of the Year

TIE be­tween the Bri­tish and Ir­ish Li­ons’ win over Aus­tralia in the de­cid­ing third Test and the Spring­bok an­ni­hi­la­tion of the same team in Bris­bane.

Bravest De­ci­sion

WAR­REN GAT­LAND’S de­ci­sion to omit Brian O’Driscoll, from the de­cid­ing test of the Li­ons se­ries.

Best De­ci­sion

SAME as above.

Sec­ond Best De­ci­sion

THE NZRFU de­ci­sion to give Richie McCaw a sab­bat­i­cal ap­pears to have paid off.

Weak Lead­er­ship Award

THE South African ad­min­is­tra­tion seems to be less vis­i­ble since Jurie Roux took over as chief ex­ec­u­tive, which is surely a good thing.

Ad­min­is­tra­tors should not be hog­ging the head­lines as they al­most rou­tinely did a few years back. But it is also hard to dis­agree with Alan Solomons, who on the day he va­cated his job as di­rec­tor of rugby at the South­ern Kings, fired a broad­side at Saru for the weak lead­er­ship which al­lowed his fran­chise to be ex­cluded from Su­per Rugby af­ter just one sea­son.

The Kings punched above them­selves through the com­pet­i­tive sea­son and any­one who thought they could es­tab­lish them­selves in just a few months just doesn’t un­der­stand rugby.

That is dis­turb­ing if you con­sider that the peo­ple that crit­i­cism is di­rected at are sup­posed to be

the ones run­ning the sport in this coun­try…

They Lead the Way Award

THE New Zealand sys­tem still stands as a bea­con on how to do it for a South African union that seems in­ca­pable of putting the Spring­boks first like the All Blacks are in their coun­try.

That Jan­nie du Plessis tried to play in a Cur­rie Cup fi­nal in­jured and was then ruled out of the end of year Spring­bok tour as a re­sult was just ridicu­lous and an in­di­ca­tion of where South Africa is get­ting it wrong.

While the Boks all played in the play-off stages of the do­mes­tic com­pe­ti­tion, the All Blacks were with­drawn from theirs. If the Boks are to usurp the All Blacks as the top team in the world, pri­or­i­ties need to be ad­dressed.

Cup.

The Een Oog (One Eye) Award

THE Mel­bourne TMO.

Quote of the Year

“IF THAT is a yel­low card we might as well not be play­ing con­tact.” Jean de Vil­liers to the ref­eree dur­ing the Bris­bane clash be­tween the Boks and the Wal­la­bies.

Come­back of the Year

TIE be­tween Ge­orge Smith and Fourie du Preez.

About-turn of the Year

JAKE WHITE be­came a com­mit­ted Aussie and his eyes could only see gold jer­seys. But then the ARU over­looked him for the Wal­laby job and his pledge never to desert the Brumbies was for­got­ten and he was a South African again. That is good though for South African rugby, as the game here needs his

ex­per­tise. Wel­come back, Jake.

The Work­ing Over­time Award

THIS has to go to the med­i­cal staff of the Storm­ers and Sharks, who had to work over­time dur­ing Su­per Rugby dur­ing re­spec­tive in­jury crises that ef­fec­tively scup­pered the cam­paigns of those teams.

Scared of Fly­ing Award

THE Bulls should have been more up-front with their sup­port­ers and ad­mit­ted that the rea­son they es­chewed kicks at goal at a crit­i­cal stage of their Su­per Rugby semi- fi­nal against the Brumbies was that they just didn’t fancy another flight across tur­bu­lent In­dian Ocean airspace so that they could be beaten by the Chiefs in a Hamil­ton fi­nal.

The Ex­o­dus Award

SOME­ONE needs to lock the gates at the Bulls’ cor­ral, for the cat­tle are steam­ing out of the place at a rapid rate. A pe­riod of re­build­ing is in store for the Bulls, and it didn’t start well in the re­cent Cur­rie

The Much Ado About Noth­ing Award

NO, this doesn’t go to the Storm­ers for their game­plan, or to their fans, for mak­ing such a fuss about it, but to the Kiwi of­fi­cials who brought a com­plaint against the Storm­ers for do­ing what ev­ery team does when they are sit­ting in a dug-out and the ref­eree and as­sis­tant ref­er­ees are mess­ing up. The game in ques­tion was the one in Palmer­ston North against the Hur­ri­canes, where Steve Walsh strug­gled and so did his as­sis­tants. The fuss should have been about that.

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