STELLENBOSCH, Western Cape – Former Springbok Breyton Paulse has likened flyhalf Manie Libbok to Tiger Woods in the x factor that he brings to rugby and his ability to put his mistakes behind him.
Speaking at the Sunshine Tour pro-am of this week’s Vodacom Origins of Golf at the Devonvale Golf and Wine Estate, Paulse said the constant questioning of Libbok at flyhalf for the Springboks in their Rugby World Cup campaign in France needs to be put to bed now.
“Whether you like him or not, Manie is doing amazing things on the field. He is a player with that x factor. I would take a player with that x factor any given day. I spoke to John Dobson, coach of the DHL Stormers, recently and he told me how Manie has this incredible ability that when he makes a mistake he forgets it and moves on within seconds. It takes a special athlete to be able to do that. Tiger Woods did it in golf,” said Paulse.
“I think people don’t appreciate enough what Manie does off the ball as well and the way he creates and assists tries. That’s why the Springbok management backs Manie.”
According to Paulse, Libbok and several other players in this current Springbok team make it a more dangerous proposition than the 2019 side that won the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
“I believe this team is much more dangerous than the one in 2019. You have players like Canan Moodie, Kurt-Lee Arendse, André Esterhuizen and Cheslin Kolbe who like to run. So the Springboks will kick because that’s part of their DNA, but when it’s on they will have a go and then you have someone like Manie part of that. Add to the fact that Rassie Erasmus is currently living rent free in the other coaches heads, and with this whole demeanour the other teams are really starting to fear us. That’s a big positive off the field.” – Michael Vlismas