United Rugby Championship: Joel Stransky urges Manie Libbok to cut out the mistakes

United Rugby Championship: Joel Stransky urges Manie Libbok to cut out the mistakes

1995 Rugby World Cup winner Joel Stransky believes Stormers fly-half Manie Libbok’s tendency to committing mistakes could prove costly when it comes to Springbok selection.

After spending a couple of weeks on the sidelines, Libbok returned to action for men from the Cape in their United Rugby Championship (URC) clash with the Sharks in Durban at the weekend and delivered an impressive attacking display.

Libbok hit the ground running as he contributed 19 points courtesy of a try, four conversions and two penalties as URC‘s defending champions cruised to a 46-19 victory and his performance also saw him walk off with the official man-of-the-match award.

However, he made dropped the ball while crossing the try-line and was off target with some penalty attempts and also failed to put the ball out when kicking for touch on one occasion.

Stranksy said although Libbok has shown that he is good enough to play at Test level, minimising his mistakes is imperative if he wants to be the Springboks’ first choice fly-half.

Mistakes could prove costly

“Manie created tries, but also made mistakes that can doom you to defeat in a big game,” the former Bok fly-half told Netwerk24.

“There is no doubt that he is an incredibly talented young player. But I think if you are the Springbok coach, you take into account that opponents at Test level and in World Cup tournaments make fewer mistakes on defence. In that environment, he will not be allowed to be equally creative.

“If you factor in some of the basic mistakes he made – and he’ll be the first to admit it – he missed three penalties in a row, missed a goal kick from almost in front of the posts and the ball hit over the goal line. From a coach’s perspective, you’d be a little worried about those mistakes.”

The ex-Leicester Tiger feels that Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber will still opt for Handre Pollard, who was the Boks preferred option at fly-half when they won the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, as his chief playmaker.

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“If you play in a World Cup game that is on a knife edge and where the battle for the advantage line and kicking to the posts is important, Polly is going to win you the game,” added Stransky.