Sportsperson of the Year runners-up: Handré Pollard, Quinton de Kock, Kirsten Neuschäfer and Dricus du Plessis

Sportsperson of the Year runners-up: Handré Pollard, Quinton de Kock, Kirsten Neuschäfer and Dricus du Plessis
Handré Pollard. (Photo: Steve Haag / Gallo Images) | Kirsten Neuschäfer. (Photo: Olivier Blanchet / ALeA / Getty Images) | Quinton de Kock. (Photo: Pankaj Nangia / Gallo Images) | Dricus du Plessis. (Photo: Steve Marcus / Getty Images)

The decorated Springbok flyhalf’s impact was monumental and leads the runners-up pack.

Handré Pollard

Although Handré Pollard didn’t feature at RWC 2023 until game four, the final pool match against Tonga, the decorated flyhalf’s impact was monumental. Pollard didn’t miss a kick at goal against Tonga, France, England and New Zealand, landing some massive, long-range, game-winning kicks. In all, he scored 33 points, including all 12 in the final. This is a nomination of quality over quantity.

Quinton de Kock

The mercurial left-hander announced he was stepping down from one-day internationals after the Cricket World Cup. Maybe that freed his mind, because he delivered some wonderful performances in India during the group phase, scoring four centuries and 591 runs at an average of 65.66, with a superb strike rate of 109.24.

Kirsten Neuschäfer

Kirsten Neuschäfer made history by becoming the first woman to win the Golden Globe Race. She still had time to save a fellow sailor in distress before her historic victory. This retro race is based on the first solo circumnavigation yacht race that took place in 1968. In order to stay true to the original circumnavigation, boats are all older designs, no bigger than 36 foot, and modern navigational technology such as GPS is not permitted. The race began in France and covered an approximate distance of 30,000 nautical miles, with anywhere from seven to nine months or more at sea. This is largely a race of attrition, luck, seamanship – and adventure!

Dricus du Plessis

Mixed martial arts athlete Dricus du Plessis has built an impressive 6-0 record in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) to become the No 1 contender for the middleweight belt – which he will contest against Sean Strickland at UFC 297 in January next year. The South African combat fighter bashed Derek Brunson, via TKO, in March this year at UFC 285. Du Plessis followed that up with an incredible TKO win over the “gatekeeper” of the middleweight division, Robert Whittaker, in July to maintain his against-the-odds unbeaten run in the UFC. DM

This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper, which is available countrywide for R29.


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