Bok legend Morne Steyn says hard work has paid off for Manie Libbok

Bok legend Morne Steyn says hard work has paid off for Manie Libbok

Former Bulls and Springbok flyhalf Morne Steyn reckons incumbent Bok number 10 Manie Libbok has the necessary skills and dedication to deliver at the upcoming Rugby World Cup in France.

Libbok came in for some criticism from Springbok supporters after some underwhelming goal-kicking performances during the Rugby Championship and Rugby World Cup warm-up Tests against Argentina and Wales.

The 26-year-old Stormers playmaker is the only specialist flyhalf in the Boks' 33-man squad for the World Cup after Handré Pollard was ruled out due to a calf injury.

Pollard, who was South Africa's first choice number 10 when they won the 2019 World Cup in Japan, is believed to have recovered from his injury and is on standby as a replacement if one of the players in the current Bok squad should withdraw through injury.

Steyn is one of the most prolific goal-kickers to ever play for the Springboks, amassing 742 points in 68 Tests for his country, and likes what he has seen from Libbok, who has worked very hard to get himself into the position he now finds himself in.

"A guy like Manie Libbok has worked his ar*e off to be where he is," Steyn told IOL. "He sat behind me (at the Bulls); he sat behind a lot of guys and worked hard. They did not give him the opportunities.

"He is doing well now. Last weekend (when Libbok slotted five out of five kicks against the All Blacks in a record victory in London), we saw that he can be that 90% (success rate) goal-kicker when it is needed from him.

"He kicked very well at the Stormers, so I don't know what happened the previous three games."

Despite some poor goal-kicking performances - especially against Wales in Cardiff - Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber has kept the faith with Libbok, who delivered an outstanding showing with the boot in the Boks' 35-7 win against New Zealand on Friday.

South Africa kick off their World Cup campaign against Scotland in a highly anticipated Pool B encounter on September 10 before facing Romania (September 17), Ireland (September 24) and Tonga (October 1) in their other pool matches.

Steyn believes it's important that the defending champions take the momentum from their All Blacks triumph into the World Cup.

"We all saw on Friday night what they can do and the type of rugby they can play," he said. "I am excited about the World Cup... it will be an exciting one. I think the team is ready (for what awaits)."

The 39-year-old recently joined the Lions' backroom staff as a kicking consultant ahead of their 2023/24 United Rugby Championship (URC) and Challenge Cup campaigns.

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