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Handre Pollard gives his take on Manie Libbok's kicking woes

By Ian Cameron
South Africa's fly-half Handre Pollard (R) and South Africa's flanker and captain Siya Kolisi (L) arrive for a training session at the Mayol Stadium in Toulon, southern France, on September 28, 2023, during the France 2023 Rugby World Cup. (Photo by CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU / AFP) (Photo by CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

Springboks flyhalf Handre Pollard has given his two cents on Manie Libbok’s kicking travails, which has seen the Stormers standoff take considerable flack from both media and fans.

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Between Libbok and Faf de Klerk’s faulty radar off the tee, South Africa saw 11 points go begging in their 13-8 defeat to Ireland in Pool B of the Rugby World Cup.

Now, Pollard is stepping up to the plate against Tonga, hoping he can steady the ship after returning from injury for his first Springboks start in 13 months.

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Pollard says it hasn’t been a topic of conversation between the pair.

“It is an interesting one. Of course there is a lot of heat on all the kickers at the moment for the last few games, but if you had to see the amount of work those guys put in every single day, you would know that it is going to come right any day.

“I don’t speak to Manie too much about it because I know it is a personal thing, kicking. Once there’s too many voices it can be very distracting. I am always there for him if he needs any help, but he is in good hands and he is really looking good and confident in training so I’m sure it will come right.”

Handre Pollard
Handre Pollard was welcomed back into the Springbok camp with open arms (Photo by Steve Haag/Getty Images)

Pollard, who returned to Leicester Tigers after being left out of the initial Rugby World Cup squad before being called up as a replacement for Malcolm Marx, said he just relieved to be back in the squad and starting.

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“It is unbelievable to be back in this environment, it’s a special environment to be a part of. Getting a second chance is really nice, something that I’m going to try and enjoy every single day. It was tough and frustrating. It was a calf injury that should have only been about four weeks [on the sidelines], but ended up being almost three months.

“It was a very frustrating time but that’s the body, that’s how it works. We tried our best to be fit as soon as possible but it didn’t work out.

“Of course not getting selected [in the initial 33-man squad] was tough but such is life. They [the coaches] always told us to stay positive and be ready, and that is exactly what I did.

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“I am going to be realistic about it. Having played 30 minutes of Prem Cup rugby [Premiership Rugby Cup] a few weeks ago to playing a test match in a World Cup is quite a big jump. I’m confident in the way we prepare here. My expectations for myself is just going to be to express myself and enjoy it knowing that it’s not going to be perfect.

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“It’s been really exciting watching the boys go at it the last 12 months. They have put another layer on their game. We know our set-piece, our defence and our kicking game is always going to be the base of our game, 80 per cent of it is going to be that.

“But we’re just sprinkling on some nice attack, some nice opportunities now. It’s not a big change at all, just a small mindset change for the team.

“It is really exciting because the kicking game, defence and set-piece can take you a long way but if you really want to be winning World Cups back-to-back, you need that something extra and I think we’ve got it now. It is just about getting more comfortable and getting better at it every single week.”

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Comments

10 Comments
J
Johann 289 days ago

Actually, In a world cup, never underestimate any team, and do not get cocksure

J
Johann 289 days ago

Never underestimate NZ
We South Africans should know that!

J
Johann 289 days ago

To be honest the kicks that cost us against Ireland
Also, lineout turnovers, stupid knock ons and not realizing that the kicks are not working, so go for touch
Looking forward, one game at a time
Tonga is no push overs, and should we make it to the quarters, France is formidable opponents
And should we overcome these hurdles, Wales, Fiji, and England will be tough

C
CT 289 days ago

What a boykie !

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B.J. Spratt 6 hours ago
Jono Gibbes' reaction to France U20s putting 55 points on New Zealand

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