By Dan Lombard

The very first BrightRock Player’s Choice Awards was held in the City of Gold on Tuesday, 12 December 2017 and boy did it glitter like gold.

The Sandton Convention Center was the venue, Jean de Villiers and Boity Thulo were the hosts and the players, well they were simply the stars of the evening as South African professional rugby players celebrated each other’s achievements, both on and off the field.

The evening was the brainchild of My Players Marketing and Events manager, Elma Smit, who together with BrightRock and Aramex, went above and beyond in organising an event that was thoroughly enjoyed by the players in attendance.

South Africa’s Players’ Player of the Year in 2016, Jean-Luc du Preez, was impressed by the laid back approach to the evening.

“From the players’ perspective, tonight was incredible. It was great to be able to relax with our fellow players and acknowledge their performances on and off the field while donating money to worthy causes. Congratulations to all the winners and especially Siya Kolisi who took the coveted Players’ Player of the Year award,” said du Preez.

The evening was littered with celebrities who presented the awards including cast members of Getroud Met Rugby, Bouwer Bosch, Jason Goliath, Sky Tshabalala and Eloise Cupido amongst others, while the entertainment was provided by Morgan Beatbox, Rubber Duc and Yollandie Nortjie.

The Chris Burger Petro Jackson Players Fund was one of the charities who received a R50 000 donation from My Players and Players’ Fund recipient, Lifa Hlongwa, was on hand to receive the cheque along with Players’ Fund trustee, John Smit.

It was Hlongwa’s first appearance at an event of this magnitude and flabbergasted best describes his experience.

“It was such an honour to be in attendance with players of this calibre. Rugby is truly a sport that looks after its players especially those who are seriously injured. A huge thank you must be said to the Players’ Fund for the invite and My Players for the very generous donation,” said Hlongwa.


All in all it was a night to remember for everyone involved. The stage has been set for many more BrightRock Players’ Choice Awards evenings.

BrightRock Players’ Choice Awards 2017 winners:

#lovechange Award: Makazole Mapimpi
Best off the Bench: Steven Kitshoff
Defender of the Year: Malcolm Marx
Forward of the Year: Siya Kolisi
Back of the Year: Rosko Specman
Fans Choice Award: Francois Venter/LiefdeWen
Players’ Player of the Year: Siya Kolisi