The Springboks do not do badly at all when Manie Libbok is in the starting team.
In the nine tests in which the Humansdorp native the no. 10 jersey, South Africa has only lost one match and that was in the group stage of the World Cup against Ireland.
With Libbok pulling the initial strings, the Boks settled with New Zealand, Australia and France, among others.
But in last weekend’s semi-final match against England at the Stade de France, Handré Pollard made his appearance on the field already after 31 minutes.
It was a brave decision by the Springbok management, but it was one that ultimately worked well: Pollard was in the spot with a match-winning penalty, while his touchline kicks were also decisive in taming the Englishmen in the second half.
Now South Africa plays in the final against the All Blacks; at stake is a possible fourth World Cup title, while Siya Kolisi can also hold up the Webb Ellis trophy for the second time in a row.
And in pressure cooker situations, you need a cool-headed player to manage the game, according to Dan Carter.
The brilliant former All Blacks fly-half believes that Pollard’s experience – after all, he has already been part of a successful (in 2019) and unsuccessful (in 2015) Springbok campaign – makes him a dangerous opponent in knockout rugby matches.
“He will play a key role in the final; someone who will provide the necessary experience right from the start,” said Carter.
However, the former All Blacks star, who played in 112 tests for his country, believes that Libbok is a talented player.
“It can be difficult for him, but he is at his best in dry conditions, when the game is more open and fluid.”
- Springbok results with Manie Libbok in the starting team:
Springboks 43 – 12 Australia
Springboks 22 – 21 Argentina
Springboks 24 – 13 Argentina
Springboks 52 – 16 Wales
Springboks 35 – 7 New Zealand
Springboks 18 – 3 Scotland
Springboks 8 – 13 Ireland
Springboks 29 – 28 France
Springboks 16 – 15 England.