Player of the year

Written by Johann Pollard (Dragnipur)

Posted in :Original Content on 10 Feb 2015 at 10:00
Tagged with : , , , , , ,

Duane Vermeulen won a well-deserved SARU Player Of The Year accolade over the past weekend, and I’m sure he’s feeling pretty chuffed after putting in some massive performances for the Boks. He’s been immense this year and is challenging Reid for the mantle of best no8 on the planet.

If we look at the previous winners of the Player of the Year, a disturbing trend does start to emerge:

1995 – Rueben Kruger. One of the original hard men of SA rugby. He played every test in 1996, diagnosed with brain cancer in 2000. Played all 13 tests in 1996
1996 – Andre Joubert. Retired during 1997. Played 4/13 tests in 1997.
1997 – Os du Randt – Retired 1997 after neck injuries. Missed all 12 tests in 1998.
1998 – Gary Teichmann – Dropped by Mallet for the World Cup in 1999. Played 2/13 tests in 1999.
1999 – Andre Venter – Also a hard guy, diagnosed with transverse mayelitis in 2006. Played 9/12 tests in 2000.
2000 – Breyton Paulse. Injury free for the most part of 2001. Played 10/11 tests in 2001.
2001 – Andre Vos – Retired 2002, body broke down. Missed all 11 tests in 2002.
2002 – Joe van Niekerk – Only started 5/12 tests in 2003.
2003 – Ashwin Willemse – Only started 2/13 tests in 2004, also retired shortly afterward.
2004 – Schalk Burger – Almost broke his neck in 2006, long injury layoff. Played 8/12 tests in 2005.
2005 – Jean de Villiers – Torn his bicep in 2007, missed world cup. Played 7/12 tests in 2006
2006 – Jacque Fourie – No huge injuries in 2007. Started 11/17 tests in 2007.
2007 – Habana – Starts 10/13 tests in 2008, but his form was poor
2008 – Jean de Villiers – Started 8/12 tests in 2009, played overseas in 2009. Must have torn something!
2009 – Fourie du Preez – Shoulder surgery in 2010. Started 0/14 tests in 2010.
2010 – Guthro Steenkamp – Broke his arm in 2011. Started 4/9 tests in 2011.
2011 – Schalk Burger – Blew out his knee in 2012, meningitis kept him out for quite a while after that. Missed all 12 tests in 2012.
2012 – Habana – Played all 12 tests in 2013.
2013 – Jean de Villiers. Tore his knee to pieces on the year-end tour. Started 10/13 tests in 2014.

Most of the players who have won the award seem to break down if not in  the next year, then the one after. I’m sure that the physical toll of performing at your peak must be massive and this must surely play a huge part in the amount and seriousness of the injuries.  I’m not saying the award is cursed, because then each and every one of the winners would have broken down in a big way following their wins. It does seem a little fishy though.

As it stands, Habana seems to be the luckiest of the winners thus far, seeing as he hasn’t had any really big injuries to hamper his career. Here’s to hoping that Duane can emulate him and stay injury free for 2015! Or at least until we’ve won the World Cup.


  • Well researched article. There does seem to be a curse surrounding the award lol

  • Comment 1, posted at 10.02.15 10:14:12 by StevieS Reply
  • “I’m sure that the physical toll of performing at your peak must be massive and this must surely play a huge part in the amount and seriousness of the injuries.”

    I agree with this and to explore the idea a little further, some of the player of the year winners never seemed to reach those same heights again. If we want to keep class players around proper rotation should be on the minds of all Super Rugby franchises.

    Off-topic: Based on your username I take it you’re an Anomander Rake fan? You have excellent taste sir.

  • Comment 2, posted at 10.02.15 10:17:41 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Haha yes I am. Seems I have two profiles on the site! can’t remember that one’s password though.

    The funny thing is that NZ doesn’t seem to have such a huge problem regarding this, at least not in the extent of horrifying season ending injuries. Richie keeps chugging along as well as Reid. Dan is showing his age though.

  • Comment 3, posted at 10.02.15 10:31:07 by PTAShark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • I thought it might be interesting to add each player’s union for interest’s sake. I may be wrong on one or two. Apologies.

    1995 – Rueben Kruger (Bulls)
    1996 – Andre Joubert (Sharks)
    1997 – Os du Randt (Cheetahs)
    1998 – Gary Teichmann (Sharks)
    1999 – Andre Venter (Cheetahs)
    2000 – Breyton Paulse (Stormers)
    2001 – Andre Vos (Lions)
    2002 – Joe van Niekerk (Lions)
    2003 – Ashwin Willemse (Lions)
    2004 – Schalk Burger (Stormers)
    2005 – Jean de Villiers (Stormers)
    2006 – Jacque Fourie (Lions)
    2007 – Habana (Bulls)
    2008 – Jean de Villiers (Stormers)
    2009 – Fourie du Preez (Bulls)
    2010 – Guthro Steenkamp (Bulls)
    2011 – Schalk Burger (Stormers)
    2012 – Habana (Stormers)
    2013 – Jean de Villiers (Stormers)
    2014 – Duane Vermeulen (Stormers)

  • Comment 4, posted at 10.02.15 10:36:12 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @PTAShark (Comment 3) : I think they’re reaping the rewards of player management through central contracting.

  • Comment 5, posted at 10.02.15 10:37:20 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @vanmartin (Comment 4) : Bloody hell didn’t realise that the Sharks last POTY was Teichman!

  • Comment 6, posted at 10.02.15 10:50:35 by PTAShark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @PTAShark (Comment 6) : Yup, Sharks and Cheetahs only featured twice each and that was ages ago.

  • Comment 7, posted at 10.02.15 11:02:13 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Interesting to see those names, a lot of loose forwards feature there, and that is the most grueling place in rugby – our loosies need to be well managed this year, should only play 60% of the SuperRugby games at max 60 minutes per game. If you take a look at injuries, the loose forwards suffer season ending injuries more often than not, and it is more often than not the knee.

  • Comment 8, posted at 10.02.15 11:35:14 by Richard Reply


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