Warrick Gelant says Handre Pollard and Manie Libbok are “strong personalities” who see and play the game differently, but are both capable match-winners for the Boks at No 10.
Speaking on the latest episode of the Behind the Ruck Podcast with fellow Springboks Juan de Jongh and Rudy Paige, Gelant weighed in on whether Pollard or Libbok should start in the World Cup quarter-final against France on Sunday.
Libbok has copped flak for his indifferent form on goal, but the 26-year-old has made up for it with an excellent display in open play, and is helping the Boks play an attacking brand of rugby.
Pollard was on song from the kicking tee in a Pool B win against Tonga – the 2019 World Cup winner’s first Test since last August, having originally been left out of the 33-player squad due to a calf injury.
The 29-year-old’s experience of knockout matches gives him the edge for this weekend’s clash, yet the 12-Test Libbok has stepped up when it mattered for the DHL Stormers the last two seasons.
Gelant believes the Boks lose nothing with either Pollard and Libbok calling the shots for the world champions, and both pivots should be left to play their natural game without outside pressure.
“Two things about those flyhalves is their personalities. They have very strong personalities in how they want to play the game and how they see the game,” the outside back said.
“I think we should always respect that view, and you’ll see there are two different ways because they both see the game differently.
“Both ways are right and both ways will win you games. It’s sort of how we are going to bring that together, and if we go with either one.
“Like if we start with Pollard, or start with Manie, you’ll get the same result in a different way, so we should respect those opinions because I think sometimes we want to force our opinions onto them to play a certain way.
“No, I think we should allow them [to just play their way] because like I said, it’s two very strong personalities and I played with both of them and the way they see the game is insane.”
🏉 🇿🇦 Diving into the world of flyhalves. Tune in to our latest episode as Warrick discusses the dynamics between two strong personalities. Don’t miss the play-by-play analysis! 🎙️ #RugbyTalk #FlyhalvesShowdown” link 👇🏾 https://t.co/ce2gI7OCcd pic.twitter.com/KGiOekEj1k
— Rudy Paige (@paige_rudy) October 9, 2023
Photo: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP