Mannie Libbok the URC fans' Player of the Season

Manie Libbok of Stormers goes past Gerhard Steenekamp of Bulls to create a try scoring opportunity during the United Rugby Championship 2022/23 quarter-final between the Stormers and Bulls

Manie Libbok of Stormers has been voted as the fans’ Player of the Season in the United Rugby Championship. Picture: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Published May 17, 2023


Johannesburg - Manie Libbok’s breakout season just keeps getting better and better, and so does his popularity, after it was announced on Wednesday that the 25-year-old had won the United Rugby Championship (URC) Fans’ Player of the Season Award.

The Springbok and Stormers flyhalf has had an excellent season for the Cape-based side, capping off his fine form and unstoppable momentum with a Player of the Match award after his side’s handsome victory over Connacht in the semi-final this past weekend.

Heavy discussion has followed in the wake of most of his appearances with many pundits and supporters arguing that he should play a much bigger role for the Springboks this season and during their World Cup defence in France later this year.

Libbok was capped by the Springboks last year during the Autumn Internationals, making his debut against France in mid-November. There is a belief that he should be in the mix as at least the Springbok’s second specialist No 10 behind Handre Pollard, ousting Damian Willemse – who would arguably be better served at fullback – and veteran but embattled Elton Jantjies from that position.

If it was a popularity contest, then it certainly seems that it would be more than a possibility.

Libbok’s stats from the URC season are exceptional. He is the leading points scorer of the competition with 208 points, including five tries. He has gained the second most meters in the tournament with 847m, made the sixth most clean breaks with 16, and leads the competition with the most try assists (12).

He has also kicked the second most meters with 4 275m. Perhaps his only failing of the campaign has been his defence. Although he has made 99 tackles this season, he has missed the second most tackles of the competition (37) and conceded the third most turnovers when in possession (27).

These, however, are work-ons in high-paced and fluid tournament and should not detract from the fact that Libbok is the talk of the URC and, indeed, the rugby world at the moment.

IOL Sport