Stormers Boks flyhalf

Manie Libbok scores a try for the Stormers. Photo: Tom Maher/INPHO/Shutterstock/BackpagePix

Mallett: Boks ‘in a situation where it’s Pollard or we’re stuffed’

Former coach Nick Mallett believes it’s essential for the Boks to continue exploring their depth and options at flyhalf.

Stormers Boks flyhalf

Manie Libbok scores a try for the Stormers. Photo: Tom Maher/INPHO/Shutterstock/BackpagePix

It’s been reported this past weekend that talented flyhalves Manie Libbok and Gianni Lombard are reportedly set to play for South Africa A on the end-of-year tour, which will feature some crucial games for the Boks as well.

The SA ‘A’ team will face Munster on Thursday, 10 November, and the Bristol Bears a week later on 17 November, while the Boks will play Ireland, France, Italy and England over successive weekends.


According to Rapport newspaper, Libbok (25) and Lombard (24) – who have excelled for the Stormers and Lions – are set to tour with the South Africa A team.

In the same article, it’s also revealed that Handre Pollard will miss at least the first Test of the Springbok tour, against Ireland in Dublin on 5 November, but there is a very good chance he could miss the entire trip.

The Boks have seen their depth at flyhalf severely tested

Apparently Elton Jantjies may not return to the team just yet either, with Damian Willemse set to continue at 10, while Johan Goosen and Frans Steyn will provide cover.

Former Bok coach Nick Mallett has said the improvements made by Libbok at the Stormers have certainly been encouraging, while he reiterated the importance of South Africa being able to rely on players beyond Handre Pollard when it comes to options at flyhalf.

“A year away from the Rugby World Cup, we’re in a situation where it’s Pollard or we’re stuffed. You can’t have that,” he said, as quoted by Sport24.

“You’ve got to say, ‘We have Pollard, Manie, Gianni Lombard, Jordan Hendrikse, Goosen if he can prove he is over his injury, or Curwin Bosch if we find that he is able to take the ball to the line and improve his tackling’.

“You can’t sit there saying it’s only Pollard… no one else. And that’s the coaches’ responsibility. They’ve got to take potential World Cup squad players (on the end-of-year tour).”


With the Springboks in action against Ireland on Saturday 5 November, France on 12 November, Italy on 19 November and England on 26 November on the Outgoing Tour, Erasmus and Stick will split their duties between the two teams.

Erasmus said while winning the Springbok Test matches was the top priority, the SA ‘A’ team played an equally important role in player and coach development as the Boks gear up for the Rugby World Cup in France next year.

“The SA ‘A’ matches will have multiple benefits for SA Rugby as it will open the door for some of our top up-and-coming coaches to be exposed to high-level rugby at senior level in a national team set-up, while at the same time allowing us to continue building our player base as look ahead to the Rugby World Cup,” said Erasmus.

“This season alone we used over 50 players in our Test matches, which is fantastic as one of our core pillars in the Springbok team is to build squad depth, but with limited playing opportunities for several players and the fact that we lost out on a vital year to build our squad due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these matches will be crucial.”


Erasmus added that “the closest one can get to playing for the Springboks is the SA ‘A’ team”.

“We believe these matches will give us a good idea of the coaches and young players within our ranks as well as offering some experienced players the opportunity to return from injury and get back to form as they contest for places with an eye on Rugby World Cup spots.”

Commenting on SA ‘A’ team opposition, Erasmus said the team expected a big challenge.

“Munster are renowned for their status as Irish rugby giants, and as we have seen in the United Rugby Championship, they will test the team to the limit. We expect Bristol to play more of a running game, especially with Pat Lam – a former New Zealand junior and club player, and Auckland Blues coach – influencing their style of play.

“These are going to be challenging matches, which is exactly what we want less than a year out from the Rugby World Cup.”

The Springbok and SA ‘A’ squads will be announced within the next three weeks.


SA ‘A’ team management:

Head coach:
 Mzwandile Stick
Assistant coaches: Bafana Nhleko, Joey Mongalo, Wian du Preez
Technical analyst: Willie Maree
Operations manager: Zintsika Tashe
Logistics manager: Barry McDonald
Team doctor: Clement Plaatjies
Physiotherapist: Lance Lemmetjies
Conditioning coach: Johan van Wyk