Springboks and Kolisi in line for top Laureus awards

rugby26 February 2024 11:20| © SuperSport
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© SuperSport

The Springboks – who managed the impressive feat of winning back-to-back Rugby World Cup titles when they lifted the Webb Ellis Cup in France last year – and national captain Siya Kolisi have been rewarded for their achievements yet again by being nominated for top Laureus awards.

The Springboks, who also won the Laureus World Team of the Year awards following their RWC triumphs in 2007 and 2019, have been nominated for the same award yet again.

They will be up against the Manchester City Men’s Football team, the Spain Women’s Football team, the European Ryder Cup Golf team, the Oracle Red Bull Racing Formula-1 team, and Germany’s Men’s Basketball team.

Kolisi, who defied the odds by recovering from a serious knee injury he suffered in April to lead the Boks to their second RWC title in a row in October, has been nominated for the Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award.

Kolisi said, “This is such an overwhelming moment for me – to be nominated with the Springboks for Laureus Team of the Year, and also individually for Comeback of the Year. I know just what it means to win a Laureus Award.

“I was lucky enough to be captain of the Springboks in 2019 when we won the World Cup, and as a result the following year we won Laureus Team of the Year. I’m hoping we can win it again, as always it is a formidable group of teams nominated this year, including Manchester City, Spain’s Women’s World Cup winners and Oracle Red Bull Racing.

“It was a close thing whether I would recover from injury in time to play in the Rugby World Cup. I made it, so it’s a very special personal moment for me to receive my nomination.”


Kirsten Neuschȁfer is shortlisted for the Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year Award, marking her extraordinary achievement of becoming the first female to win a solo round-the-world race via the three Great Capes. Rounding off the South African Nominees is Justice Desk Africa, a group in the running for the Laureus Sport for Good Award.

The Laureus Awards, which honours, recognises and celebrates the world's greatest athletes, the inspirational power of sport and its ability to change lives, will be hosted in Madrid in April.

Six Nominees have been selected in each category, and the names of the Winners will be revealed on April 22, following a vote by the Laureus World Sports Academy – the world’s ultimate sports jury, made up of 69 of the greatest sporting legends of all time.

SA Rugby President Mark Alexander was proud of the recognition the Springboks and Kolisi received for their brave efforts to become the first country to win the Rugby World Cup four times and wished them luck for their respective awards.

“The Springboks deserve every ounce of recognition they receive for their massive accomplishment in France last year, and we are delighted to see them in line for the Laureus World Team of the Year Award,” said Mr Alexander.

“Their heroics on and off the field were remarkable, especially considering their tough road to the World Cup final.

“But the victory in France was more than just an 80-minute rugby match – it was a triumph for South Africa both in nation building and social cohesion, and we hope that the effects of the Boks’ success will continue to radiate through the sport and transfer to other sporting codes for years to come.”

Alexander also praised Kolisi, who staged a dramatic recovery from a serious knee injury which many thought placed his Rugby World Cup hopes in doubt, thanks to his hard work and intense rehabilitation to lead the team by example on the field.

“Siya’s hard work and determination to recover for the World Cup, and the fact that he managed to achieve this feat beyond all doubts was special,” said Mr Alexander.

“It takes a warrior to do something so remarkable, and that journey made it even more extraordinary to see him lift the cup for the second time in a row.

“We are extremely proud of the Springboks and Siya, and we wish them luck for the awards ceremony.”

The shortlist for the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award, and Sportsman of the Year, contain not only the outstanding athletes of 2023, but some of the greatest of all time.

Last year’s winner, Lionel Messi, is nominated once more in the latter category after an eighth Ballon d'Or, alongside sportsmen including Novak Djokovic, who won three Grand Slams in 2023, Max Verstappen after a third straight world championship in Formula One and Noah Lyles, world champion over 100 and 200 metres, plus the 4x100 metre relay.

In the Sportswoman of the Year category, the Nominees include tennis’s World No 1 Iga Świątek, Aitana Bonmatí, the star of Spain’s Fifa World Cup win, and Mikaela Shiffrin, who became the all-time leader in World Cup wins in alpine skiing.


Novak Djokovic (Serbia) Tennis – won three Grand Slams, finishing 2023 with a record-equalling 24 
Mondo Duplantis (Sweden) Athletics – twice improved his own world pole vault record and won a second world title 
Erling Haaland (Norway) Football – his 52 goals spearheaded Manchester City’s treble season 
Noah Lyles (USA) Athletics – won the 100, 200 and 4 x 100 metres relay at the World Athletics Championships 
Lionel Messi (Argentina) Football – a record eighth Ballon d’Or and a record 44th trophy win 
Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Motor Racing – completed a hat-trick of Formula One World Championships


Aitana Bonmatí (Spain) Football – won the World Cup, Champions League and Liga F – plus Ballon d'Or Féminin. 
Shericka Jackson (Jamaica) Athletics – won 200 metre gold at the World Championships 
Faith Kipyegon (Kenya) Athletics – first woman to win 1,500 and 5,000 metre double at the World Championships 
Sha’Carri Richardson (USA) Athletics – golds in 100 and 4 x 100 metre relay 
Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) Alpine Skiing – became the all-time leader in World Cup wins 
Iga Świątek (Poland) Tennis – won in France and regained World No.1 spot at WTA Finals 

European Ryder Cup Team – Golf – regained trophy with dominant display in Rome 
Germany Men’s Basketball Team – FIBA World Cup champions after shock wins over USA and Serbia 
Manchester City (UK) Football – treble of Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League 
Oracle Red Bull Racing Formula One Team (Austria) – second consecutive constructors’ title after winning all but one race 
Springboks (South Africa) Rugby – winners of a record fourth World Cup 
Spain Women’s Football Team – World Cup winners after a game-changing tournament in Australia 

Jude Bellingham (UK) Football – winner of Golden Boy Award for Real Madrid’s new star 
Linda Caicedo (Colombia) Football – played in under-17, under-20 and senior World Cup in the same year 
Coco Gauff (USA) Tennis – maiden Grand Slam title came in US Open, aged 19 
Qin Haiyang (China) Swimming – swept the breaststroke events (50, 100 & 200 metres) at World Championships 
Josh Kerr (UK) Athletics – stunned favourite Jakob Ingebrigtsen to win 1,500 metre world title 
Salma Paralluelo (Spain) Football – FIFA Young Player Award winner for best young footballer at the World Cup 

Simone Biles (USA) Gymnastics – after a two-year absence, returned to win four World Championship golds 
Sébastien Haller (Ivory Coast) Football – recovered from cancer diagnosis to return for Borussia Dortmund 
Katarina Johnson-Thompson (UK) Athletics – won heptathlon gold at World Championships after multiple injuries 
Siya Kolisi (South Africa) Rugby – came back from ACL tear to lead his country to World Cup glory 
Jamal Murray (Canada) Basketball – after 18 months out, won NBA Championship with Denver 
Markéta Vondroušová (Czech Republic) Tennis – won Wimbledon as an unseeded player after a series of injuries 

Simone Barlaam (Italy) Para Swimming – six golds at the Para Swimming World Championships 
Danylo Chufarov (Ukraine) Para Swimming – two world records, three golds at the Para Swimming World Championships 
Diede de Groot (Netherlands) Wheelchair Tennis – third successive calendar Grand Slam in wheelchair tennis 
Luca Ekler (Hungary) Para Athletics – golds in 200 and 400 metres, plus long jump, at the Para Athletics World Championships 
Nicole Murray (New Zealand) Para Cycling – a champion on the road and the track in 2023 
Markus Rehm (Germany) Para Athletics – a sixth world title and a 14th world record for the long jumper 

Rayssa Leal (Brazil) Skateboarding – street golds at three major championships in 2023 
Caroline Marks (USA) Surfing – first world title for emerging superstar 
Kirsten Neuschȁfer (South Africa) Sailing – first woman to win a solo round-the-world race via three great capes     
Bethany Shriever (UK) BMX – regained her world title in Glasgow 
Filipe Toledo (Brazil) Surfing – defended his world title in California 
Arisa Trew (Australia) Skateboarding – 13-year-old became first skateboarder to land 720 in competition 

Programmes nominated by a specialist selection panel; Laureus Academy select the winner   

Bola Pra Frente (Brazil) Multi-sport x Employability – using sport and education to increase opportunities for youth 
Dancing Grounds (USA) Dancing x Social Integration – advocating for social justice through dance 
Fundación Rafa Nadal (Spain) Tennis x Education – using sport in Mallorca and India to empower young people 
ISF Cambodia Football x Education – breaking the cycle of poverty through the power of football 
Justice Desk Africa (South Africa) Multi-sport x Human Rights – empowering youth to defend their human rights through sport 
Obiettivo Napoli (Italy) Multi-sport x Inclusion – developing social skills in young people experiencing exclusion and hardship