Nizaam Carr, Marcell Coetzee, Willie le Roux, Handre Pollard and Duane Vermeulen are all in line to claim the prize for the first time in their careers.
The five players, who all played for the Boks this year, have been nominated by the South African rugby media following a stellar year on the field.
Springbok fans across the globe will now be given a voice in the selection of the winner, the SA Rugby Union (Saru) announced on Friday.
The public will also be asked to cast their votes in two other categories, Young Player and the Team of the Year.
Carr and Pollard have also been named in the Young Player category, along with Cheslin Kolbe, Seabelo Senatla and Jan Serfontein.
The Junior Springboks, Springboks, Springbok Sevens, Western Province and Golden Lions have been nominated as Team of the Year.
Public polling for the three awards will open on Friday with all the winners to be announced at a gala event on February 8 in Midrand.
The public can vote for the top awards at sarugby.365.co.za. Voting will also take place through Saru’s official digital Springbok Magazine, where subscribers can cast their votes.
“It is again very pleasing that we are able to give our rugby fans a voice in the game, and the Saru Player of the Year Awards is an ideal platform to do so,” Saru chief executive Jurie Roux said.
Media, coaches and players had a major say in determining the outstanding players of the season in a range of categories and competitions, Saru said in a release.
Other awards on the night include the outstanding players in Vodacom Super Rugby, Absa Currie Cup Premier and First Division and Vodacom Cup competitions.
Prizes would also be awarded to the coach of the year, SA Under-20 player of the year, Springbok Sevens player of the year, women’s achiever of the year, SA Rugby Player Association Players’ Player of the Year, Try of the Year, Referee Award, Cell C Community Cup Player of the Tournament and Coca-Cola Craven Week Player of the Tournament.