Posted on Thursday, 19 Jan 2018
2017 Toyota Cheetah Player Awards
Free State Rugby hosted their annual Player Awards function on Wednesday, 17 January 2018 with a glamourous cocktail event in Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein.
To honour the talent in the Cheetah camp, the following player awards were made:
U.19 Toyota Free State Cheetah Player of the Year: Athenkosi Halom
The young wing, Athi Halom was with 18 tries the number one try scorer in the 2017 SA Rugby u.19 Championship and ranked 4th with 90 points scored.
U.21 Toyota Free State Cheetah Player of the Year: Dian Badenhorst
Dian represented the Toyota Free State Cheetahs u.21 2017 SA Rugby u.21 Championship and also represented the Toyota Free State XV in the Super Sport Challenge Cup. This scrumhalf earned his first Toyota Free State Cheetahs cap in 2017 when he ran onto the field during a Currie Cup match.
Toyota Free State XV Currie Cup Player of the Year: Sibabalo Qoma
Sibabalo Qoma was one of the leading ball carriers during the 2017 Super Sport Challenge Cup and also represented the Toyota Free State Cheetahs u.21 team and Toyota Free State Cheetahs Currie Cup teams this year.
Toyota Free State Cheetahs Currie Cup Player of the Year – Sponsored by PWC: Henco Venter
The award for the Toyota Free State Cheetahs Currie Cup Player of the Year – Sponsored by PWC went to Henco Venter. Venter made a big impact on the team when he represented the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in 5 Currie Cup matches in 2017.
Henco started his rugby career with the Cheetahs by representing the Free State at all youth levels.
He made his first-class debut for the Free State Cheetahs in the 2012 Currie Cup Promotion/Relegation series against the EP Kings. Venter played in 8 of 10 games in the 2016 Currie Cup, including the Semi Final and Final.
Toyota Cheetahs Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Year – Sponsored by PWC: Aranos Coetzee
Aranos Coetzee received the award for the Toyota Cheetahs Super Rugby Player of the Year – Sponsored by PWC.
Johan Coetzee was born in Windhoek and attended High Agricultural School Boland in Paarl. He made his test debut for Namibia on 6 June 2015 in their 2015 Africa Cup match against Tunisia in Nabeul. In 2010 he joined Top 14 side Racing Metro (2010-2012) before moving to Brive (2012-2015).
Coetzee returned to South Africa to join the Free State Cheetahs for the 2015 Currie Cup but missed the tournament due to his involvement with Namibia at the 2015 Rugby World Cup (played in four matches).
Toyota Free State Cheetahs Player’s Player of the Year: Henco Venter
The Toyota Free State Cheetah’s Player’s Player of the Year award went to Henco Venter. The players voted for this award themselves.
Venter is studying theology the nephew of the late South African international rugby player Ruben Kruger.
Toyota Free State Cheetahs Player of the Year – Sponsored by PWC: Francois Venter
The top award of the night, the Toyota Free State Cheetahs Player of the Year well deservingly went to the captain, Francois Venter.
Venter represented the Toyota Cheetahs in 20 matches in 2017 bringing his career total for the Cheetahs to 59 and impressed with his performance for the Springboks on the end-of-year tour.
The Prof Basie Verster Award for Forward of the Year went to Torsten van Jaarsveld and Francois Venter received the Harold Verster Award for the Backline Player of the Year for the second time in a row.
A number of Toyota Free State Cheetah players were capped. To qualify for Toyota Free State Cheetah colors, a player has to play in six consecutive or in a total of 10 Vodacom SuperRugby, Guinness PRO14 and or Currie Cup matches for the Toyota Free State Cheetah- or Toyota Cheetah team.
Players who qualified for Cheetah colors in 2017 are:
Rynier Bernardo, Joseph Dweba, Elandré Huggett, Makazole Mapimpi, Zee Mkhabela, Rosko Specman, Clinton Swart and Jasper Wiese.
Players who qualified for 50 Cheetah caps are:
Torsten van Jaarsveld