SA goalkicking icon Morné Steyn has praised rookie Test flyhalf Manie Libbok for seizing his opportunity to make the Springbok No 10 jumper his own.
Libbok, making his fifth start in nine Tests, struck five conversions in a flawless outing from the kicking tee as the Boks demolished the All Blacks in London on Friday.
While his game management, composure and tactical kicking was never in question, the 26-year-old’s erratic goalkicking for the world champions in previous Tests against Australia, Argentina and Wales raised eyebrows.
‘Worked his arse off’
But, Libbok has seemingly recalibrated his radar just in time to head to the World Cup as the Boks’ likely first-choice pivot, and speaking in a Lions conference on Tuesday, former Bok playmaker Steyn told reporters: “A guy like Manie Libbok has worked his arse off to be where he is.
“He sat behind me [at the Bulls], he sat behind a lot of guys and worked hard. They did not give him the opportunities.
“He is doing well now. Last weekend, we saw that he can be that 90% [success rate] goalkicker when it is needed from him.
“He kicked very well at the Stormers, so I don’t know what happened the previous three games.”
‘Excited about World Cup’
Defending champions, the Boks completed their World Cup preparations with a record 35-7 win against New Zealand at a sold-out Twickenham.
It was also an ideal way for Jacques Nienaber’s charges to serve notice of their intentions ahead of a title defence they start against Scotland in Marseille on 8 September.
Steyn added: “We all saw on Friday night what they can do and the type of rugby they can play. I am excited about the World Cup … it will be an exciting one. I think the team is ready [for what awaits].”
This story first appeared on sarugbymag.co.za. It is republished here with permission. For the original story click here.