Springbok loose-forward and Rugby World Cup winner Pieter-Steph du Toit was named South Africa Rugby Player of the Year for 2019 on Friday.
Du Toit emerged top of the vote defeating fellow teammates Damian de Allende, Cheslin Kolbe, Makazole Mapimpi and Duane Vermeulen.
This is the third time in four years that du Toit has claimed the award following previous wins in 2016 and 2018. He joins Naas Botha and fellow Rugby World Cup winner Bryan Habana as the only players to have won the award thrice.
The 27-year-old also won the World Rugby Men’s 15s Player of the Year award last year a day after South Africa defeated England in the Rugby World Cup final.
In doing so, he became only the 3rd South African to win the award after Schalk Burger (2004) and Habana (2007).
South African Rugby President Mark Alexander paid tribute to du Toit, who was a key player for the Boks who completed a Rugby Championship and World Cup double.
“Pieter-Steph led the charge for the Springboks and he deserves this accolade to go with his World Player of the Year Award,” Alexander said.
Scrum-half Herschel Jantjies was named Young Player of the Year while fly-half. Jantjies, who has been hailed as one of the game’s rising stars, enjoyed a dream debut season for the Springboks.
Fly-half Handré Pollard, the top points scorer in last year’s Super Rugby season, was named Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Year.
Blitzboks captain Siviwe Soyizwapi was named Springbok Sevens Player of the Year after finishing the 2018/19 season as leading try-scorer and playing in all 10 legs of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
In other categories, Aseza Hele won the Springbok Women’s Achiever of the Year award and Jaden Hendrikse was named Junior Springbok Player of the Year.