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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.



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