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Monday Sep 11, 2023

Siya Kolisi goes to bat for teammate following criticism

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi has come out strong in defence of teammate Manie Libbok who has been on the receiving end of criticism for his inconsistency from the kicking.

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26-year-old Libbok has been a revelation since breaking into the Springbok set-up in 2022 and is now firmly entrenched as the team’s first-choice flyhalf with Handre Pollard out injured.

Sublime in attack and a tactical maestro, Libbok has added an element of x-factor to the Bok attack that has taken their overall game to the next level.

Renowned for his world-class pace of the mark, Libbok’s threat as a runner in the ten channel has created several opportunities for the Springbok’s dangerous outside backs to capitalise.

Yet, the one criticism of Libbok has been his inconsistency from the kicking tee, which on the weekend saw scrumhalf Faf de Klerk take over the kicking duties.

Overall, this is the one area of concern for the World Champions as they look to defend their title in France, as it could prove to be the difference against the likes of Ireland and potential quarterfinal opponents France and New Zealand.

Clearly aware of the external pressure being mounted on his teammate, Kolisi came to the defence of Libbok in a Springboks press conference.

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Circling back to a previously asked question, Kolisi said, “This question gets asked a lot when he misses kicks.

“We play as a team, and sometimes you are not good at one thing on the day, but the way he attacked today, the way he took control of the team. How he is a general amongst us, people forget that, and they remember the stuff that he doesn’t do.”

Kolisi then went on to explain even with his vast experience, he relies on his teammate’s expertise.

“If somebody is lacking somewhere, somebody else takes over.

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“It’s the same as me, sometimes I don’t know what to call in the game. Duane will make the call, Eben will call or Manie will make a call, so if somebody is lacking somewhere, somebody else picks up for them.

“You can’t have everything on the day, sometimes you lack somewhere, and that’s why we all work together. We don’t stress about it. If he missed, next time we go, it’s the same as a throw.”

Shifting his focus to de Klerk, Siya said the team have full confidence in the scrumhalf’s ability to take over when necessary.

“We work as a group, we are working together, and he has confidence in us, and when Faf has to kick, nobody stresses. We move on because maybe he is going to be good on the day.”

 

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A post shared by RugbyPass (@rugbypass)

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