Many rugby fans believe that Manie Libbok is the designated player to replace the no. 10 jersey for the Springboks in Handré Pollard’s absence.
The 26-year-old fullback showed in the opening game of the Rugby Championship against the Wallabies that he has the necessary spark to ignite the Springbok backline.
Yes, he admittedly messed up with a few set-piece attempts at Loftus Versfeld, but his passing and attacking prowess definitely gives the South Africans an additional arrow in the quiver.
Together with Kurt-Lee Arendse, Willie le Roux and Canan Moodie, he provided the necessary magic, while André Esterhuizen also caused headaches with his direct runs.
Tom Shanklin – the former Welsh star – has already predicted that the South Africans will dish out a more creative game when Libbok the no. 10 jersey wear.
Now, with a place in the World Cup squad at stake, he will do his best to be part of the elite group of 33 players who have to defend the Boks’ world champion title in France from 8 September.
“I just want to give my best to make the group. I have not been part of the World Cup action before, but it is something we are working towards as a group,” he said.
The Humandorp native has come under criticism before: When he’s on track, he delivers excellent play, but he can also struggle when things don’t immediately go according to plan.
“Someone like Willie (le Roux) helps me a lot; especially when it comes to my decision making on the field and staying calm. I also learn a lot from the other players and coaches.”
John Dobson has also sung Libbok’s praises before.
“Yes, he sometimes makes mistakes, but hey, he definitely makes things happen on the field and that’s very important in a rugby game. It is probably safer to use a more robotic no. 10 player to choose, but for the type of game we want to dish out, Manie is undoubtedly the right person for the job,” said the Stormers knitter after the team’s success against the Sharks at Kingspark.
Libbok made his international debut against France in Marseille last year, while he also put his creative stamp on the Springbok game pattern against Italy.
“Manie is only getting better and we are excited to see what he can do,” Jacques Nienaber (Springbok coach) said at the time.
And by this time most of us know that Manie Libbok can ensure that a team wins rugby matches.