Gavin Rich’s rugby awards for 2013
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
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.
WARREN GATLAND’S decision to omit Brian O’Driscoll, from the deciding test of the Lions series.
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.
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.