Manie Libbok expecting 'massive pressure' as he braces for first Bok start

Manie Libbok expecting 'massive pressure' as he braces for first Bok start

Springbok flyhalf Manie Libbok cut a relaxed figure as he addressed the media on Thursday, even though he knows the Wallabies will be targeting him come Saturday.

The 25-year-old, who will be making his first start for the Boks at Loftus this weekend, did not shy away from the fact that there would be pressure on him in the clash, but said he wanted to go out onto the field and give his best.

"This (starting against Australia) is a big opportunity for me," said Libbok. "There will be massive pressure on me in this game, but I just want to go out there and contribute in my role as much as possible, and hopefully we can get the desired result.

"I know they'll target me, but I've made peace with that, and the pressure. I've taken a lot of confidence from my preparation for this match, and the main thing for me is to control what I can control. I'll have a few experienced players around me, which is also a bonus."

After plying his trade at the Bulls and Sharks before becoming a regular starter at flyhalf at the Stormers, Libbok admitted it had not always been an easy road to travel, but he said it paved the way for where he is today.

"Looking back at where my career began to where I am now, it wasn't easy, but I'm grateful for those tough times and to be here (at the Springboks)," he said. "It helped me learn more as a player and develop under different coaches, but it also built character.

"I've always wanted to become a Springbok and I knew that in order to achieve that I had to keep my head down and keep working, so I am honoured to have this opportunity to play."

Reflecting on the Stormers disappointing defeat in the final of this year's United Rugby Championship, Libbok said he had learned and grown a lot as a player from the experience.

"It was great for me and the team to win the URC last year, and while we didn't defend our title this season, I learned a lot during the competition and I appreciate the playing opportunities. I tried to improve in every game I played and to grow as a player."

The Springboks had some well-deserved time off on Thursday to recover from the week's training, and will wrap up their preparations for the match on Friday with their captain's run.

Saturday's Rugby Championship match against the Wallabies kicks off at 17h05.