Powerhouse Sharks flanker Jean Deysel and Vodacom Free State Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské have been rewarded for their recent efforts in the Absa Currie Cup, with the duo winning the Player and the Coach of the Month Awards, respectively, for the month of August.
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Deysel and Drotské were each rewarded with R10,000 in prize money, whilst they were also presented with exclusive miniature replicas of the Absa Currie Cup trophy.
Deysel missed the start of the Absa Currie Cup because of a hand injury sustained in a pre-season friendly against the Griffons, but a series of powerful displays has seen the 23-year-old make the No.7 shirt his own, much to Sharks coach John Plumtree’s delight.
Plumtree, himself a former Sharks flank of some repute, recently said of Deysel – after a Man of the Match display against the Wildeklawer Griquas: “The guy has got Springbok written all over him.”
The Coach of the Month is voted for by a five-man panel of top media personalities in South Africa, whilst all eight coaches in the Absa Currie Cup were asked to nominate their Player of the Month for August – as they did last month and like they will be asked to do until the end of this season in October. They cannot nominate their own players.
Deysel was selected ahead of Nick Köster (Vodacom WP), Earl Rose (Xerox Lions), Wikus van Heerden and Deon Stegmann (both Vodacom Blue Bulls) and the Boland Cavaliers’ Dries van Schalkwyk. Interestingly enough, all the players nominated – except Rose – are loose forwards.
But Deysel, who tips the scales at 103 kilograms and stands 1,92 metres tall, was typically modest about his performances in August, saying: “It’s great that the opposition coaches have noticed me, I think that’s the best thing about this award.
“I’m enjoying my rugby a lot at the moment; John Plumtree and the coaches at the Sharks have backed me up, but it’s just been great being back out there with my body in good shape and that enjoyment factor right up there, too.”
For Deysel, and the Sharks, the next few weeks are shaping up as the key ones as the top teams look to secure those crucial home semi-final places. “It’s make or break in the next few weeks,” he said.
“The Boks are coming back, at the Sharks and at the other teams too, but that’s why I play this game – to test myself against the best players out there… and I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Vodacom FS Cheetahs coach Drotské, meanwhile, has guided his team to five successive victories in the Absa Currie Cup. The Cheetahs, the defending champions, have not lost a match since going down 31-23 to the Vodacom Blue Bulls in mid-July. The Men from Bloemfontein are currently in third place on the Absa Currie Cup log, just one point behind the second-placed Sharks (33) and two points adrift of the table-topping Vodacom Blue Bulls.
Drotské – a former Springbok hooker and the ex-head coach of English club, London Irish – received three out of five votes for his efforts in charge of the Cheetahs last month, just pipping Xerox Lions boss Eugene Eloff to the honour.
The five members of the well-respected media voting panel who selected the Coach of the month consisted of SuperSport analyst and commentator Owen Nkumane, Mtutuzeli Scott (SABC radio commentator), David O’Sullivan (Rugga Zone host), Clinton van den Berg (Sunday Times sports editor) and senior Rapport journalist JJ Harmse.
Desiree Pooe – Marketing Manager, Sponsorships Absa – was once again delighted with the response to August’s Awards, that after the positive responses to the July Awards.
“As this is a new award, we’re still very excited about it – but even more so because it has been so well-received by players and coaches,” said Pooe. “We see it as an honour and a nice boost for the players and coaches and we’re happy the way they have warmed to it too.
“Well done to Naka and Jean for winning the August Awards – they set the standard last month and we’re hoping that all the other players and coaches will look to do the same in September.”Tweet