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Dan Carter sees just one option at 10 for the Springboks

By Ian Cameron
Former All Blacks player Daniel Carter (C) speaks with a journalist during a ceremony where a traditional hand-carved Maori bench is given to the City of Lyon in thanks for the welcome of the All Blacks team, southeastern France, on September 27, 2023 (Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP) (Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON/AFP via Getty Images)

Dan Carter has weighed in on who he believes is the right flyhalf to start for South Africa in their Rugby World Cup final showdown against New Zealand on Saturday night.

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It’s a debate that has been raging in Springboks circles for the past month. Stormers’ playmaker Manie Libbok was Jacques Nienaber’s first choice 10 at the start of the tournament, but his issues from the kicking tee soon cast doubt over whether or not he was the right man to get the job done in the World Cup’s knockout stages.

Old-hand at the tiller Handre Pollard, who failed to make the initial squad due to injury, has since proven his value, playing a starring role in South Africa’s last-ditch win over England in the semi-final. Pollard came on after just 30 minutes, with Libbok struggling to make a positive impact for the Springboks in wet conditions.

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For many, it was a performance that should seal Pollard’s starting spot, although the Springboks coaching ticket has suggested that Libbok may well start again.

Now Dan Carter has had his say.

The All Blacks legend – who was speaking on the official Rugby World Cup podcast believes that Pollard – his old sparing partner from the 2015 Rugby Worled Cup final – should get the nod.

“[In the semi-final against England the Springboks] needed someone who would be calm, clear and decisive in a big game with World Cup experience. That is why they had Pollard on the bench. If he will be on the bench this week, it’s highly unlikely. Just to have that depth and control.

“I think with the pressure, the experience of Pollard in such a big occasion, with the hurt and learnings he had from 2015, he’s been on both sides, successful and unsuccessful campaigns,” Carter added. “He’s really going to play a key part, having that experience out there right out from the get-go.

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“It’s a tough one to take for Libbok but he has been a fantastic player, in different conditions, dry conditions, when it’s a bit more open.”

Carter believes the All Blacks must match the Boks physically if they are to win.

“They have to match them physically. That starts at the set piece. scrum, lineout and breakdown they need to match them. Then take their opportunities.”

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Comments

24 Comments
S
Sims 272 days ago

Pollard didn’t play in the 2015 RWC Final

D
Davic 273 days ago

I think that Rassie will pick the same team, allowing for injuries, that beat AB do convincingly at Twickenham. So Manie to start !

D
Dr A 273 days ago

Libbok would be an ideal starter for me, Carter is too honest. Libbok is trying to be a Spencer type 10 only issue he has is that Spencer was allowed to move freely in spaces now completely shut down by 6/7 and 8s that could easily play in the backs.

You will notice Pollard and Mounga are relatively similar in that they provide a solid points option but also a good running option, though Pollard is nowhere near as quick as Mounga. Richies break through the Irish pack was unreal and I would not be surprised to see this again.

Its all well and good to have giant men, good opposition will make these guys run around like the Irish did.

T
Turlough 273 days ago

New Zealand in another humble world leading example of ‘keeping their head down’ have decided they will raise their head up just enough to pick the Springboks out-half for them. Thanks guys!

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