Manie Libbok says playing for the high-flying Stormers has given him the freedom to enjoy his rugby again, reports DEVIN HERMANUS.
Since bursting onto the scene with the Junior Springboks, Libbok’s career has had its ups and downs, and the former Sharks and Vodacom Bulls flyhalf joined the Stormers in September as the Cape side looked to boost their depth at No 10.
Backed as the first-choice pivot by coach John Dobson this season, the 24-year-old has grown in confidence as the Stormers found their groove in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship.
The Capetonians have registered back-to-back bonus-point wins in the URC, after they beat Cardiff 40-3 on Sunday in Cape Town, only a week removed from smashing Zebre 55-7 in Stellenbosch.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s clash with Ulster at Cape Town Stadium, Libbok said: “I really enjoy my rugby now, I’m getting backed by the coaches and for what I bring to the team.
“The players around me are working hard to allow me to perform and play with freedom, and give me options. So, I’m making the most of the opportunity to put my best foot forward and help the team to win.”
Playing alongside Springboks Herschel Jantjies, Warrick Gelant and Damian Willemse has also helped Libbok to elevate his game and dictate play for the Stormers.
“[Willemse] brings something extra out of me, and he helps me a lot with decision-making, and he brings that extra eyes to the field looking for space,” he said. “He chats constantly with me, and the connection between us has grown as we’ve played more together.
“The team has plans and structures for the opposition and everyone knows their roles, and the forwards especially are working off the ball to give Herschel, Warrick, Damian and myself a chance to do what we can from the back – to handle the chaos. With the firepower we have, it gives us the chance.”