Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

Hopes raised for Boks at flyhalf as Pollard gets Libbok fired up

Hopes have been sparked that Pollard and Libbok can possibly work in tandem over the rest of the World Cup.

Springbok flyhalf general Handre Pollard made a triumphant return to the national team with a strong 50 minute performance in their 49-18 hammering of Tonga in their final Rugby World Cup pool match in Marseille at the weekend.

It was Pollard’s first appearance for the Boks since August last year, and despite having had limited game time due to injury before his return, he looked solid in all aspects, while he importantly nailed all his kicks at goal.

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Manie Libbok, who has been the first choice flyhalf in Pollard’s absence, also seemed fired up by his return, with an action packed 30 minute showing when he came on, and he also nailed all three of his kicks at goal.

This has sparked hopes that Pollard and Libbok can possibly work in tandem over the rest of the World Cup.

Rollercoaster ride

Pollard admitted that it had been a rollercoaster ride for him over the past few months and he was just happy to be back in the mix and kicking well from the start.

“It has been a rollercoaster. There have been extreme lows, of course, early on and extreme highs to get recalled, so it is just great to be back in the environment with the boys,” said Pollard.

“Hopefully I can contribute as much as I can in whatever role that may be, I am just here to help the team succeed and I am excited.

“We joked in the week about it, that my first kick was probably going to be in the corner, and it was. You follow your normal routine, you do your thing.

“Manie kicked extremely well when he came on. I think it’s a great thing as a kicking unit. There has been a lot of heat on us for that but after today we can take this forward with a lot of confidence.”

Happy Libbok

Libbok was also very happy with his improved performance off the tee, after struggling earlier in the competition, and explained that he and Pollard had been working hard together since his arrival.

“It (kicking) is something I worked on really hard in the past week or so. I’m just happy that it came off nicely today. Handre also kicked very well,” said Libbok.

“In everything we work together. Handre is a world-class flyhalf and player. I’ve learned a lot from him and he helped me a lot in terms of the game itself. For me it’s nice to work with him and learn from the best.

“I fell off my kicks (previously). That’s why I pulled most of the kicks. I worked on that and I’m just happy that it came off. I kicked the same, I didn’t change anything in terms of speeding up my process.”

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