Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

Bok boss excited to see ‘world class’ Willemse connecting with Libbok

Willemse and Libbok are well acquainted at their franchise and now have a chance to grow their partnership on the international stage.

An exciting Springbok partnership could start to bloom this weekend when Stormers team-mates Damian Willemse and Manie Libbok link up together for the national team in their World Cup warm-up match against Argentina.

Willemse and Libbok are well acquainted in their franchise side and now will have the chance to grow their impressive partnership on the international stage.

ALSO READ: Jaden Hendrikse still in World Cup picture despite no game time

Both players have already played together in the Bok setup, but this is the first game they are starting together with Libbok at flyhalf and Willemse at fullback.

Last season the Boks seemed to view Willemse’s best position as fullback as he started the season as the starting No 15, but after an injury crisis at flyhalf he has since spent the past year mostly playing in the No 10 jumper.

‘Like Frans Steyn’

He now finally gets a chance to show what he can do again as the starting fullback and with him linking up with Libbok it could lead to an exciting combination.

“Damian is a quality rugby player. He can play 10, he can play 12 and he can play 15. He’s almost like Frans Steyn back in the day when he was 19 or 20 when there was a big debate on whether he was a better flyhalf or fullback or a 12,” said Bok coach Jacques Nienaber.

“I think that’s literally what Damian Willemse can do. He is a quality rugby player and wherever you pick him he will be world class.

“Damian is the type of guy that wherever the team needs him he slots in. Whether it’s fullback or wing where he played against Italy last year. Wherever you need him he will play there.”

Any position

Although many pundits and fans don’t see Willemse as an out and out flyhalf and believe his best position is at 15 or 12, Nienaber believes that it doesn’t matter where you put him, he will perform in any position.

Nienaber is also excited to see what the combination of Willemse and Libbok will bring in the match against Los Pumas.

“It doesn’t matter what position he goes into, he creates magic there. So I can’t say what his best position is. He’s world class no matter where you put him. He’s also that type of guy that you want on the field,” explained Nienaber.

“But in saying that we have a certain way that we want to do things and Damian is a guy that slots in wherever the team needs him on the day. It will also be lekker to see him and Manie connecting again this weekend.”