Cecil Afrika wins IRB Sevens award

first_img26 October 2011To anyone who followed the 2010/11 HSBC Sevens World Series, it would have come as no surprise that South Africa’s Cecil Afrika won the IRB Sevens Player of the Year Award at a glittering ceremony at the Vector Arena in Auckland, New Zealand on Monday.He finished the season as both the top try scorer and points scorer, displaying fantastic creativity, vision, and finishing as he helped the “Blitsbokke” to titles in Las Vegas, London, and Edinburgh.Afrika totalled 40 tries and 385 points in seven events. His totals would have been even higher had injury not forced him to miss out on the Wellington Sevens.South African Rugby Union president Oregan Hoskins said in a statement that Afrika epitomises the spirit and determination of a rugby player. “He has a never-say-die attitude that rubs off on his team mates and it was great to see how he inspired them to capture three tournament titles last season.Well deserved“This prestigious accolade is well deserved and I want to wish Cecil and the Springbok Sevens all of the best for the upcoming HSBC Sevens World Series.”The 23-year old Afrika dedicated his award to his team mates: “I am extremely proud of the award, but I view it as an accolade for the team. My team-mates, the coach and management all worked very hard, and we endure the joy and pain together.“The Springbok Sevens team is one huge family, and I want to thank them for their continuous support and encouragement.”Springbok Sevens coach Paul Treu had high praise for his attacking star. “Cecil is an outstanding playmaker, and his best attribute as a rugby player is probably his ability to maintain the same level of consistency throughout the season.“The team struggled without him in Wellington when he was out due to a broken jaw, but he quickly bounced back to make a telling contribution in Las Vegas, where we won our first tournament of the season. He was also instrumental in our Cup wins in London and Edinburgh.‘He works extremely hard’“He works extremely hard during training and he really puts his body on the line for the team,” Treu said. “Apart from his excellent kicking skills and attacking instincts, I also think that defence is one of his key strengths.“He was not a first choice for the team three years ago. In fact, such was his desire to succeed that he trained with us for a full season without a contract, so that he could establish himself in the team,” Treu said.“What he has achieved since then is just incredible and his rise through the ranks from a very humble childhood in Port Elizabeth to a star performer on the world stage is just an incredible and inspiring story.”Hall of FameFour other South Africans were also honoured at the IRB awards, with 1995 World Cup winning coach Kitch Christie (posthumously) and captain Francois Pienaar being elected to the IRB Hall of Fame, along with 2007 World Cup winning coach Jake White and captain John Smit.They join South Africans Danie Craven, Bennie Osler and Frik du Preez in the Hall of Fame.SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img

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