Joel Stransky says that as long as Manie Libbok remains prone to errors, the reliable and experienced Handre Pollard will be the go-to flyhalf for the Springboks.
Libbok was named man of the match as the DHL Stormers thrashed the Sharks in the coastal derby in Durban. The flyhalf created a couple of tries, scored one himself and collected a haul of 19 points.
However, the 25-year-old also missed a few place kicks from penalties and dropped the ball over the tryline after a fantastic linebreak from Suleiman Hartzenberg.
Libbok made his Test debut for the Springboks off the bench against France in the November tour and followed that up with a memorable match as a substitute against Italy, when he slotted five conversions.
Former Springbok playmaker Stransky watched Libbok in Durban and said that while there is no doubting his ability, he needs to keep his mistakes to a minimum if he wants the Bok No 10 jersey.
“Manie created tries, but also made mistakes that can doom you to defeat in a big game,” Stransky told Netwerk24.
“There is no doubt that he is an incredibly talented young player. But I think if you are the Springbok coach, you take into account that opponents at Test level and in World Cup tournaments make fewer mistakes on defense. In that environment, he will not be allowed to be equally creative.
“If you factor in some of the basic mistakes he made – and he’ll be the first to admit it – he missed three penalties in a row, missed a goal kick from almost in front of the posts and the ball hit over the goal line. From a coach’s perspective, you’d be a little worried about those mistakes.”
For the time being, Stransky believes that Pollard, who guided the Springboks to the 2019 World Cup title, will still be Jacques Nienaber’s preferred flyhalf option.
“If you play in a World Cup game that is on a knife edge and where the battle for the advantage line and kicking to the posts is important, Polly is going to win you the game.”
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