Home Rugby Time for Libbok to banish ghosts of Loftus

Time for Libbok to banish ghosts of Loftus

Time for Libbok to banish ghosts of Loftus


Manie Libbok will on Saturday return to the bottom the place he spent so lengthy within the shadow of Handre Pollard, with the chance to steal a march within the battle for the Springbok No 10 jersey, writes DYLAN JACK.

It looks like a type of unusual circumstances of the celebrities aligning. Libbok will make his first Check begin in opposition to the Wallabies in Pollard’s injury-enforced absence at Loftus Versfeld, the bottom the place he had a blended begin to his skilled profession.

TEAM: Duane leads Boks, Kleyn begins

For many of his time spent in Pretoria as a Vodacom Bulls participant, it appeared that Libbok would by no means actually fulfil the potential he confirmed as an SA Colleges and Junior Springbok playmaker.

There have been flashes of his expertise, resembling when he scored 12 factors, together with a late attempt, to assist the Bulls salvage a draw with the Blues at Eden Park in Might 2019. Nevertheless, it simply so occurred that Libbok’s emergence coincided with Pollard’s rebound from a long-term career-threatening mixture of accidents suffered in 2016. Pollard made himself indispensable to the Bulls in 2018 and 2019, even captaining the facet within the absence of Burger Odendaal.

This meant that Libbok by no means bought the time to work on the kinks in his sport, which at the least partly contributed to his inconsistent performances when he did get to place a run of begins collectively within the Currie Cup, when Pollard was on nationwide obligation.

On Saturday, Libbok will return to Loftus Versfeld to make his first Check begin for the Springboks. He returns as a refined participant, having helped the Stormers progress to successive Vodacom United Rugby Championship finals, successful one.

Within the newest version of SA Rugby journal, I argued for why Libbok and Pollard ought to each be on the airplane to France, to assist the Springboks defend their World Cup title, making a case for every as a starter.

One of many downsides to Pollard has been his latest damage document. This was what gave Libbok the hole he wanted to make a few glowing cameos within the inexperienced and gold in November. This included a really sensational efficiency in opposition to Italy, the place he confirmed among the finest distribution I’ve seen from a Springbok flyhalf.

Libbok’s performances haven’t gone unnoticed by the Wallaby camp, as skilled utility again Reece Hodge mentioned Libbok was making his declare for the No 10 jersey.

“Manie bought a few Checks on the Springbok tour, however he’s been taking part in rather well for the Stormers,” Hodge mentioned. “He actually did put his hand up for choice and didn’t let the Springboks down. He performed rather well in opposition to Italy.

“We all know they’ve a number of depth in a number of positions within the backline and I feel the identical is relevant within the forwards.

“We’re anticipating a troublesome battle.”

It’s not shocking that the Springboks have elected to area Libbok and fullback Willie le Roux within the beginning lineup in opposition to the Wallabies. It was the playmaking mixture that did a lot injury in Genoa, the place the Boks ran up 63 factors in opposition to the hosts.

All the things is ready up for Libbok to lastly banish the ghosts of his previous and step out of his previous mentor’s shadow by proving his price as a beginning flyhalf within the Check enviornment.

Photograph: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile by way of Getty Photos



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here