WATCH: Manie Libbok’s a joy to watch, says Connacht captain Jack Carty



Published May 14, 2023


Cape Town — It’s not often that you get your direct opposite number — and the captain on top of it — to sing your praises and say you should be pushing for the Test position in your national team.

But that’s exactly what happened to Manie Libbok, who produced a master-class in expertly directing the Stormers around the wind-swept Cape Town Stadium in Saturday’s 43-25 United Rugby Championship (URC) semi-final against Connacht.

Connacht flyhalf and skipper Jack Carty — who is hoping to be part of the Ireland squad at this year’s Rugby World Cup himself — spoke glowingly about Libbok’s stunning display that helped the Stormers to victory in front of over 47 000 people.

— SuperSport Rugby (@SSRugby) May 13, 2023

They will now take on Munster — who pulled off a famous 16-15 victory over Leinster in Dublin in the second semi-final — at Cape Town Stadium in the May 27 final.

Libbok was at the heart of almost everything that the Stormers did well in the face of a fierce early onslaught from Connacht. The 25-year-old from Humansdorp in the Eastern Cape scored two tries and 23 points in total, created a few other touchdowns, and displayed his full array of skills — such as using his left foot to relieve pressure, showing his tremendous pace in taking on the defence with ball-in-hand and slotting his kicks at goal in the difficult conditions.

The former Sharks and Bulls utility back played with a swagger that is a hallmark of the Stormers’ set-up, and his performance would have caught the eye of Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber ahead of the Rugby Championship.

“He’s an incredible player in terms of … Watching him, you never know what he’s going to do. You think he’s going to pass, and he will do a chip over the top — kicks off both feet, incredible goal-kicker, run threat,” the 30-year-old Carty, who has 11 Ireland Test caps to his name, said about Libbok.

“I think he’s a phenomenal player, and it would be wrong for him not to be pushing for that South African 10 jersey. He’s a joy to watch, just in terms of the range of skills he has, and then he just leads his forward pack around. It’s good to see, but unfortunately for us, he had a good game today.”

Connacht coach Andy Friend also felt that Libbok had a major influence on the Stormers victory.

“Going into the game, we knew that the Stormers are a team of brilliant individuals, and we actually knew Manie was probably going to be the key,” the Australian mentor said.

“We needed to try and quieten him down, and I thought in the first 15 to 20 minutes, we probably did — and then he found his mojo and off they went. You’ve got to pay credit to that.

“At the end, I think the better team won because in these games, you’ve got to take those chances. We had more chances, which we didn’t take … They had less chances, but took them and ended up scoring six tries to four. The better team won in the end.”


Stormers 43 – Tries: Angelo Davids, Manie Libbok (2), Paul de Wet, Marcel Theunissen, Ruhan Nel. Conversions: Libbok (5). Penalty: Libbok.

Connacht 25 – Tries: Mack Hansen, Conor Oliver, Shamus Hurley-Langton, Byron Rolston. Conversion: Jack Carty. Penalty: Carty.


IOL Sport