Pieter-Steph du Toit player of the year as Springboks sweep World Rugby awards


South Africa flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit was named World Rugby Player of the Year on Sunday, in a clean sweep of the main awards for the Rugby World Cup-winning Springboks.

Rassie Erasmus won coach of the year and SA also took the team award at a glittering ceremony in Tokyo, a day after they lifted the Webb Ellis Cup for the third time.

The 27-year-old, who plays his club rugby for Western Province, was instrumental in SA’s World Cup campaign, especially effective at the breakdown and winning the battle against England’s famed “kamikaze boys” back row in the final.

“It’s a massive honour for me to accept this award,” said Du Toit.

“I think when we come back (to SA), it’s going to be an unbelievable experience… We can’t wait to get home. We miss our country so much,” added the Springbok.

Du Toit beat off competition including his team-mate wing Cheslin Kolbe, as well as All Black Ardie Savea and England’s young star Tom Curry.

The World Rugby panel picked SA as team of the year and Erasmus as coach of the year after the Springboks won the World Cup and also secured the Rugby Championship for the first time since 2009.

Erasmus took over as director of rugby at the end of 2017 and shortly afterwards doubled his responsibilities by becoming head coach following the sacking of Allister Coetzee after a miserable run of 12 losses from 25 games over two seasons.

He has turned the Boks’ fortunes around in less than two years, culminating in Saturday’s win when Siya Kolisi, the first black captain, lifted the trophy in Yokohama.