The third annual star-studded Brightrock Players Choice Awards held in Johannesburg honoured and recognised South African rugby players. Pieter-Steph du Toit walked away with the coveted 2019 Players’ Player of the Year award, following in the footsteps of Springbok hooker Malcom Marx and Springbok captain, Siya Kolisi, who nabbed the prestigious award in 2018 and 2017, respectively.

Du Toit, who was recently named the World Rugby Player of the Year in Tokyo, also took home the Defender and Forward of the Year awards.

The second big winner of the night was Herschel Jantjies, he won the Best off the Bench award, as well as the #LoveChange Award, which is presented to the player who has made great strides in his rugby career over the past year.

Cheslin Kolbe was honoured with the Backline Player of the Year award. The winners were decided by South Africa’s professional rugby players in a voting process that was run by MyPlayers, the South African rugby players’ organisation.

Rosko Specman scooped the Fans’ Choice Award, the only award voted for by the public, and secured R50 000 for his chosen charity - the Be the Difference Foundation, which strives for positive youth development, through three socio-economic programmes: development through sport, educational development and nutritional development will receive a donation of R50 000, raised by the professional rugby players through MyPlayers.

Besides this R50 000 donation on behalf of the Fans’ Choice winner, the winners of the other awards categories each receive R10 000 to donate to a charity of their choice.

Eugene Henning, Chief Executive Officer of MyPlayers, had high praise for all the winners: “Pieter-Steph has been amazing the past two seasons and thoroughly deserves the Players’ Player of the Year Award. On behalf of MyPlayers, we would like to congratulate all the other winners who contributed to the game and entertained us with the great rugby that they have played this past season."

A notable moment of the evening was when South Africa’s professional rugby players donated R70 000 out of the players’ collective income, through MyPlayers to the Chris Burger Petro Jackson Players’ Fund. This fund supports rugby players who have sustained catastrophic head, neck or spinal cord injuries while on the field.

Through this donation to the Player’s Fund along with the money pledged to charity on behalf of each of the award winners, professional rugby players have pledged a total of R170 000 towards creating the change they want to see in communities around South Africa.

The BrightRock Players Choice Awards Categories

All nominations were compiled by the MyPlayers Board, their Trustees and player representatives, and the winners of each category (except the Fans’ Choice category) were selected by the players.


Winners & Runners-up

Defender of the year

Winner:Pieter-Steph du Toit

Nominees*: Franco Mostert, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende

Forward Player of the year

Winner:Pieter-Steph du Toit

Nominees*: Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, RG Snyman

Backline Player of the year

Winner:Cheslin Kolbe

Nominees*: George Whitehead, Rabz Maxwane, Herschel Jantjies

Best off the bench

Winner:Herschel Jantjies

Nominees*: Steven Kitshoff, Selvyn Davids, Bongani Mbonambi

The #LoveChange Award – for the most-improved player over the past year – a true change agent on his way up

Winner:Herschel Jantjies

Nominees*: Joseph Dweba, Tyrone Green, Kurt-Lee Arendse

The Fans’ Choice Award – as voted by the fans

Winner:Rosko Specman

Nominees*: Scarra Ntubeni, Chris Dry, Rabz Maxwane

The Players’ Player of the Year – the flagship award of the evening for the player selected as the best player of the year, as chosen by his peers

Winner:Pieter-Steph du Toit

Nominees*: Schalk Brits, Cheslin Kolbe, Duane Vermeulen