Oh my, Manie Libbok then struggled with his kicking accuracy in the Springboks’ opening match of the Rugby World Cup against Scotland.
The 26-year-old fly-half missed his very first set-piece attempt in the showdown in Marseille and his radar was then not set properly with three of his kicks.
Faf de Klerk later took over the team’s kicking duties.
However, Siya Kolisi stepped into the breach for Libbok – after all, the Humansdorp native still came up with a player of the match performance.
“This question (about the broken kicks) is one that is often asked. We play together as a team and there are times when things don’t quite go according to plan for a player,” said Kolisi.
However, the Springbok captain quickly took out the honey brush for Libbok’s creative general play after his good defense stopped a flying Darcy Graham in his tracks and gave his clever kick to Kurt-Lee Arendse wings on his way to the Scottish goal line.
“People easily point the finger at the missed set-pieces, but they forget about Manie’s attacking game and the way in which he pulled the strings and took control of the game.”
Even Scotland’s Gregor Townsend was in awe of Libbok’s performance.
The 50-year-old coach also played at flyhalf in his playing days and he believes that the South African is a big threat to his opponents.
“He can run with the ball, run it to his teammates and kick well. He is an excellent addition to a talented South African back line. At the same time, he helps the Boks to play much more attacking rugby than in the previous World Cup tournament and this puts defenders under intense pressure,” said Townsend.
According to Kolisi, the Springboks play not only for their fans, but also for each other.
“Faf and Cheslin (Kolbe) can also kick. If one player has an off day, the others stand ready to support him. No one is equally good in every game, but we work together as a unit.”
Libbok delivered a flawless kicking performance against the All Blacks at Twickenham in the run-up to the World Cup.
“I think Libbok learned good lessons in the last few tests. He is overall a very consistent kicker and he would have realized by now that he should not over think things just because he is wearing a Bok jersey. Matches may not be won with kicks every single time, but it can cost you the game if three or four attempts go wrong,” André Pretorius, former Springbok flyhalf, told RNews earlier.