20 June 2012

South Africa: Two Baby Boks Up for Top Rugby Award

Photo: SARugby.com/Facebook
Baby Boks Lift IRB Junior World Champs Title

The International Rugby Board has released a shortlist of three players for the IRB Junior Player of the Award for 2012. It includes two South Africans.

Flank Shaun Adendorff and centre Jan Serfontein are up against Irish flyhalf JJ Hanrahan for the honour.

The only South African to have previously won the award was prop Pat Barnard, a member of the team that won the 2002 under-21 World Championship under coach Jake White. There has never been an Irish winner.


Rugby fans may vote for their choice on the IRB Junior World Championship Facebook page.

On the IRB website, there is a video of the three nominees.

The votes will be considered when deciding upon the winner.

South African Rugby Union president and IRB vice chairman Oregan Hoskins said in a statement: "We have enjoyed some wonderful individual performances at this tournament and some memorable matches. The skill levels, passion and dedication of the future stars of Rugby on show in Cape Town during the past three weeks have been breathtaking.

"I send my warmest congratulations to the three nominees who have contributed to an outstanding event, and wish all the players well for the final round of matches on Friday."


Hanrahan has been the guiding hand in the impressive performances of Ireland, who will finish in their best ever position, regardless of the result of their fifth place playoff against France. Their results include wins over South Africa and England.

He is the second highest points' scorer in the tournament, tied with France's Eric Escande on 35 points, only six points shy of Welshman Tom Prydie. However, his kicking game is about much more than goal kicking and his tactical kicking is excellent. Usually a centre, Hanrahan is also a good runner with the ball.


Serfontein is a big physical presence in the South African midfield, both on attack and defence.

He is the player the opposition needs to stop when defending because he is able to run over or around defenders, and he seldom fails to make forward progress.

Serfontein is also adept at turning over ball on the defensive and setting up counter-attacks. He has scored three tries in the tournament, one less than Jamie Farndale of Scotland, the event's leading try scorer.


Adendorff is, in South African terms, not your typical flank. He is under-sized, but physically very strong and very mobile. He also has an excellent understanding of the game, which time after time sees him being in the right place at the right time.

That attribute was underlined in South Africa's win over England in pool play when he scored two of the Baby Boks' four tries.

Adendorff delivers an all-out effort from first whistle to last and can be guaranteed to be around the ball.


2011: IRB Junior Player of the Year: George Ford (Eng)

2010: IRB Junior Player of the Year: Julian Savea (NZ)

2009: IRB Junior Player of the Year: Aaron Cruden (NZ)

2008: IRB Junior Player of the Year: Luke Braid (NZ)

2007: IRB U19 Player of the Year: Robbie Fruean (NZ)

2006: IRB U19 Player of the Year: Josh Holmes (Aus)

2006: IRB U21 Player of the Year: Lionel Beauxis (Fra)

2005: IRB U19 Player of the Year: Isaia Toeava (NZ)

2005: IRB U21 Player of the Year: Tatafu Polota-Nau (Aus)

2004: IRB U19 Player of the Year: Jeremy Thrush (NZ)

2004: IRB U21 Player of the Year: Jerome Kaino (NZ)

2003: IRB U19 Player of the Year: Jean Baptiste Payras (Fra)

2003: IRB U21 Player of the Year: Ben Atiga (NZ)

2002: IRB U19 Player of the Year: Luke McAlister (NZ)

2002: IRB U21 Player of the Year: Pat Barnard (RSA)

2001: IRB Young Player of the Year: Gavin Henson (Wal)

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