It was far from pretty and not overly convincing but Springbok flyhalf Manie Libbok says the Boks took a great deal out of their 22-21 defeat of Argentina at the weekend.
“It might not have looked like it but we were actually good for long periods of that game against a difficult opponent,” Libbok said. “This game turned into a grind and we are pleased with the way we stayed in the fight. We kept on going, we did not back down, and we got the result.”
Libbok said the Pumas have a knack for turning games into an arm wrestle, as the All Blacks and Wallabies will testify.
“The Pumas are very good at putting teams under pressure and slowing the game down,” he said. “We lost Grant (Williams) almost from the kick-off. It was not nice to see a teammate go down like that. It was his first start and he was really up for the game. I hope he recovers quickly.
“It was nice to have Faf de Klerk’s experience, which took the pressure off me in only my second start. I enjoy the challenge of starting and to get my first try in Test rugby was an amazing feeling. I have been working hard on my cross kicks and it was nice to see that part of my game coming off.”
Libbok said he has been benefitting from the work put in by his flyhalf rival Handre Pollard.
“I learn every day, every training session. The experienced guys like Handre teach me a lot. I am thankful for that and the opportunity to play, Each game you also learn plenty from the experience — each game is different in some kind of way. Two matches are the same.”
Libbok says the competition at flyhalf means he is not taking World Cup selection for granted.
“Obviously playing at the World Cup is a goal but I am not looking too far ahead. There are quality players in my position, I am just trying to make the most of every minute of each opportunity and to give my all for the team. If I get selected for the World Cup, it will be a dream come true.”