Rugby was honoured in eight categories collecting the awards for Federation, Administrator, Team, Coach, Sportsman, Newcomer, Sports Star, and People’s Choice winner, with Springbok captain Siya Kolisi collecting the latter two awards.

The eight awards exceeded rugby’s previous best showing (five awards in 2022) and is believed to be the most collected by a single sport in the history of the 17-year-old awards.

“We are greatly appreciative of the honours bestowed on our sport by the judges and the people of South Africa,” said SA Rugby CEO, Rian Oberholzer, who was in attendance to collect the Federation of the Year Award on behalf of rugby.

“Rugby has worked hard over a long period to reach this point and we are now fortunate to be enjoying a golden age, and these awards are a reward for all that hard work, dedication and passion that are daily poured into the sport at every level – from the school fields to the provincial unions and of course at the Springbok level.

“These trophies are collected by individuals on the night, but I hope that everyone involved in rugby knows that these are their awards as well. It is a happy and humbling occasion for our sport.”

The full list of awards won by rugby was:

  • Federation of the Year - SA Rugby
  • Sports Administrator of the Year - Mr Mark Alexander (SA Rugby president)
  • Team of the Year - Springboks
  • Newcomer of the Year – Manie Libbok
  • Coach of the Year - Jacques Nienaber
  • Sportsman of the Year - Eben Etzebeth
  • People’s Choice Award - Siya Kolisi
  • Sports Star of the Year – Siya Kolisi

The awards covered the period from 1 September 2022 to 31 December 2023, during which time the Springboks won a second successive Rugby World Cup.

That achievement was recognised with the Boks being named as SA’s Team of the Year once again and Jacques Nienaber chosen as Coach of the Year. Talismanic lock Eben Etzebeth was honoured as Sportsman of the Year but was pipped in the Sports Star of the Year category by captain and close friend, Siya Kolisi.

Kolisi was also named as People’s Choice winner – decided by public vote – for the second time.

Flyhalf Manie Libbok was selected as the Newcomer of the Year while union president, Mr Mark Alexander, was honoured as Administrator of the Year after eight years as the head of the organisation during which time the Springboks have twice won the Rugby World Cup.

SA’s leading women’s referee Aimee Barrett-Theron was also recognised for her achievements by being nominated in the Technical Officer of the Year category, which was won by hockey umpire Sean Rapaport.

“Siya, Eben and Manie richly deserve their awards, but I know they will be the first to say that they could not have achieved what they have without their team-mates, their coaches and the people who have made sacrifices to help them on their way,” said Oberholzer.

“In the same way the coach of the year award is a tribute to the entire Springbok coaching team.

“Rugby is very lucky to have such ambassadors and role models among its players and leaders and they deserve all the plaudits they receive.”

Mr Alexander added his thanks to the rugby community: “This is a proud day for rugby, and I’d like to thank my colleagues on the executive council for their support and hard work over the years that has allowed rugby to reach this point. We extend our heartfelt thanks to the millions of South Africans who supported our team throughout their World Cup campaign in 2023. Your enthusiasm and encouragement have been invaluable to us.

“We have had to endure some very tough times on and off the field and we can never relax our vigilance, but these awards are a tribute to everyone engaged in the sport, wherever they are in the country.”