The Sharks ended the month on top of the Absa Currie Cup log, but the Durban-based side’s star scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar and head coach John Plumtree also finished September in first place as they walked off with the player and coach of the month awards.

Springbok ace Pienaar – back starting in his favoured No.9 shirt – was the unanimous choice of the eight Absa Currie Cup coaches around the country as September’s Absa Currie Cup Player of the Month, after an outstanding month directing traffic at the base of the table-topping Sharks scrum.

Plumtree, meanwhile, was a popular choice as the season’s third Absa Currie Cup Coach of the Month after guiding the Sharks to successive wins over the Vodacom Blue Bulls, the Vodacom Free State Cheetahs, the Valke and the Xerox Lions during September.

Pienaar and Plumtree were each rewarded with R10,000 in prize money, whilst they were also presented with exclusive miniature replicas of the Absa Currie Cup trophy.

 The Coach of the Month is voted for by a five-man panel of top media personalities in South Africa, whilst all eight coaches in the Absa Currie Cup were once again asked to nominate their Player of the Month for September – as they did in July and August and as they will be asked to do until the end of this season in October.
The coaches were asked to nominate additional players this month, with Jean Deysel (August’s Player of the Month), Keegan Daniel, Cobus Grobbelaar, Jongi Nokwe and Gurthro Steenkamp all being mentioned as form players. However, in the final analysis, Pienaar picked up five votes overall, with Bulls pair Morne Steyn and Wynand Olivier and towering Vodacom WP lock Andries Bekker next best on the list of nominated players.

“It’s a great honour to win this award,” said Pienaar, “but there were a host of other players in the country who could’ve won it, too, so I’m just very, very happy to have been recognised.

“On a personal level, I had a disappointing Super 14, so this award aside, I’m just glad to be out there playing 80 minutes every week and I’m loving every minute of it.”

Pienaar, 24, also alluded to the “fantastic team spirit” in the Sharks squad, adding: “There is plenty of competition for starting places, but the guys are always willing each other on and I guess it’s a nice headache for the coach too!