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Hooker Marx wins big at SA Rugby awards

Malcolm Marx Gavin Barker, BackpagePix

Springbok hooker Malcolm Marx was rewarded with three awards following a sublime season in 2017, including being named the SA Rugby Player of the Year.

The 23-year-old star from the Emirates Lions was also named the SA Rugby Young Player (U23) and Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Year for 2017.

Marx, who retained the Young Player of the Year award he won in 2016, is the first player since Ashwin Willemse in 2003 to win the prestigious SA Rugby Player and Young Player of the Year Awards in the same season.

"This is a magnificent achievement for Malcolm and on behalf of the entire South African rugby fraternity, I would like to congratulate him on a superb season," said SA Rugby president Mark Alexander.

"Malcolm was a rock for both the Springboks and the Emirates Lions and at only 23 I'm sure he will still go on to accomplish big things in our game."

The Springbok Sevens team and their coach, Neil Powell, were also rewarded for a sterling season in which they won the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series by winning the awards for Team and Coach of the Year. The fleet-footed Rosko Specman was named Springbok Sevens Player of the Year.

"Neil and his band of Blitzbok brothers made us all very proud last year and these awards are very well deserved," said Alexander.

Juarno Augustus, who was named the World Rugby U20 Championship Player of the Tournament last June, won the award for Junior Springbok Player of the Year.

Recently-capped Springbok Warrick Gelant, who also represented the Blitzboks and Junior Springboks earlier in his career, was the Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year, and the Down Touch Griffons' Jaun Kotze won the accolade for the First Division.

Jaco Peyper, who refereed the first Test between the All Blacks and the British & Irish Lions, as well as the Vodacom Super Rugby and the Currie Cup Premier Division finals, was named the Outsurance Referee of the Year.

"Well done to all the winners on their achievements in 2017. Judging by these performances, and the fact that we're busy turning the corner, I can't wait for this year's action," said Alexander.

The winners are:

SA Rugby Player of the Year: Malcolm Marx

SA Rugby Young Player of the Year: Malcolm Marx

Team of the Year: Springbok Sevens

Coach of the Year: Neil Powell

Springbok Sevens Player of the Year: Rosko Specman

Junior Springbok Player of the Year: Juarno Augustus

Super Rugby Player of the Tournament: Malcolm Marx (Lions)

Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year: Warrick Gelant (Blue Bulls)

Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year: Jaun Kotze (Griffons)

SuperSport Challenge Player of the Year: Craig Barry (Western Province)

Craven Week Player of the Tournament: Sanele Nohamba (KwaZulu-Natal)

Referee of the Year: Jaco Peyper

Women's Achiever of the Year: Babalwa Latsha (Western Province)