The nominees have been announced for the inaugural United Rugby Championship Unity Awards which recognise the great work done by players and teams within their communities and for charitable causes.
The new awards are part of URC’s Take on Tomorrow campaign, which looks to inspire change through the power of rugby.
The Difference Maker Award will be presented to the player who has been recognised for outstanding commitment to a charitable or social cause, while the Community Impact Award will go to the team whose community programme has been recognised for its impact in their region/province.
The winners of these awards will receive £5,000 from the CVC Foundation, to donate to their cause of choice (player) or to invest in their community programme (team).
Now the list of nominees has been revealed, with six in each category.
For the Difference Maker Award, they are Springboks skipper Siya Kolisi, from the Cell C Sharks, Emirates Lions flanker Travis Gordon, Ulster’s Irish international scrum-half John Cooney, Leinster flanker Alex Soroka, Emirates Lions prop Asenathi Ntlabakanye and jointly Cardiff Rugby duo Max Llewellyn and Teddy Williams.
As examples of the work being done, World Cup winner Kolisi has founded the Kolisi Foundation, which seeks to help people living in under-resourced communities in South Africa, while Cooney has been a supporter of Tackle Your Feelings, a mental health and well-being campaign.
Along with his family, Soroka started a GoFundMe page in aid of Kyiv’s Okhmadits Children’s Hospital in Ukraine, the birthplace of his brother and parents, with Ntlabakanye involved in work in the Bitou Municipality area of the Western Cape and Gordon supporting Thol’thuba Athletics.
For their part, Cardiff’s Llewellyn and Williams have taken significant roles in #StayStrongForOws, a campaign to raise funds for former Wales centre Owen Williams who suffered a catastrophic neck injury while playing for the club in 2014.
With the Community Impact Award, the nominees are the Cell C Sharks, Dragons RFC, Edinburgh Rugby, the Ospreys, the Vodacom Bulls and Cardiff Rugby for various programmes they have undertaken in their areas.
The judging panel features World Cup final referee Nigel Owens, the CSR Manager at CVC Jane Howard, Sports Broadcaster Emma Dodds and URC Head of Operations Amy Monaghan.
The winners will be revealed on Wednesday, December 21, with the award presentations to the winning club and player taking place ahead of games in Round 10, just before Christmas.
Full List Of Nominees:
Difference Maker Award
- Alex Soroka (Leinster)
- Asenathi Ntlabakanye (Emirates Lions)
- John Cooney (Ulster)
- Max Llewellyn (Cardiff Rugby)
- Siya Kolisi (Cell C Sharks)
- Teddy Williams (Cardiff Rugby)
- Travis Gordan (Emirates Lions)
Community Impact Award
- Cardiff Rugby
- Cell C Sharks
- Dragons RFC
- Edinburgh Rugby
- Vodacom Bulls