Hard work pays off for Manie Libbok and Handre Pollard against Tonga

Hard work pays off for Manie Libbok and Handre Pollard against Tonga

South African flyhalves Manie Libbok and Handre Pollard were both delighted to come away with 100% kicking records against Tonga on Sunday and believe the Boks have turned the corner in that respect.

Pollard made his first start for the Springboks in over a year in Marseille and delivered a flawless performance in front of goal, nailing all four of his kicks for a 100% record.

Not to be outdone, Libbok joined the party in the second half and maintained the Boks' flawless record by kicking three from three.

Both men had to contend with some tough angles at times but got the job done, and the good thing for the Boks is that it doesn't appear to have come about by accident, but by plenty of hard work on the training ground.

"We joked in the week about it, my first kick is probably going to be in the corner and it was! You follow your normal routine, you do your thing," Pollard said.

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"Like Manie [Libbok] kicked extremely well when he came on. I think it's a great thing as a kicking unit. There has been a lot of heat on us for that but after [Sunday] we can take this forward with a lot of confidence."

Meanwhile, Libbok revealed that he had figured out what he was doing wrong with his kicking process prior to the game against Tonga and put in a lot of hard work to correct it, which allowed him to put things right on the field.

"I fell off my kicks, that's why I pulled most of the kicks," the Stormers star said. "I worked on that and I'm just happy that it came off.

"I kicked the same, I didn't change anything in terms of speeding up my process."

Pollard's arrival on the scene also appears to have done Libbok's confidence no harm at all, and it was encouraging to already hear both players talk about themselves as a unit.

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"I'm just happy it came off nicely," Libbok added. "Handre also kicked very well. In everything, we work together.

"Handre is a world-class flyhalf and player. I've learnt a lot from him, he helped me a lot in terms of the game itself. For me it's nice to work with him and learn from the best."

Meanwhile, Pollard admitted it's been a crazy ride going from the lows of his injury and missing out on World Cup selection to being called up to the Springbok squad so soon after returning to action for Leicester.

"It has been a crazy rollercoaster. There have been extreme lows, of course, early on and extreme highs to get recalled. So really just great to be back in the environment with the boys. Hopefully contribute as much as I can in whatever role that may be, I am just here to help the team succeed and I am excited.

"I enjoyed it very much, it was so much fun. Just on a personal note it was nice to play again and I enjoyed myself out there," he said.

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