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Pieter-Steph du Toit Springbok lock named South African Rugby Player of the Year

He succeeds another second-row forward, Lood de Jager, as winner of the major domestic rugby individual award.

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South Africa's Pieter-Steph du Toit, scoring in June 2016, has been consistently impressive this year for Western Stormers in Super Rugby and South Africa in nine Tests play

South Africa's Pieter-Steph du Toit, scoring in June 2016, has been consistently impressive this year for Western Stormers in Super Rugby and South Africa in nine Tests

(AFP/File)

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Springbok lock Pieter-Steph du Toit was named South African Rugby Player of the Year on Monday at a ceremony near Johannesburg.

He succeeds another second-row forward, Lood de Jager, as winner of the major domestic rugby individual award.

After two injury-plagued seasons, Du Toit has been consistently impressive this year for Western Stormers in Super Rugby and South Africa in nine Tests.

Apart from his line-out skills, the 24-year-old from Cape Town has been a formidable runner in loose play with three Test tries to his credit in 17 appearances.

"I was an athlete at school and this helped develop my speed," he told the audience at the annual awards function.

"Steering clear of injuries after two seasons in which I was constantly sidelined has been a highlight this year."

Du Toit was part of the South Africa 2012 world junior championship-winning team and made his Springboks debut against Wales in Cardiff the following year.

He was an automatic choice for November's tour of Europe that includes an exhibition match against the Barbarians and Tests in England, Italy and Wales.

Fellow Stormers and Springboks lock Eben Etzebeth, along with Golden Lions trio, winger Ruan Combrinck and loose forwards Jaco Kriel and Warren Whiteley, were the other Player of the Year finalists.

The Players' Player of the Year award went to Sharks loose forward Jean-Luc du Preez, a son of former Springbok scrum-half Robert.

He is among four uncapped players picked by national coach Allister Coetzee for the end-of-season tour.

Lions gained recognition for finishing runners-up to Wellington Hurricanes of New Zealand in the 2016 Super Rugby championship.

Fly-half Elton Jantjies was voted the best South African player in the competition, Johan Ackermann received the coach of the year award and Lions took the team of the year prize.

Prop Ox Nche from champions Free State Cheetahs was named the Currie Cup player of the year.

South African Rugby, media, sponsors and provincial unions were involved in the voting process.

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