Springboks vs Ireland flyhalves

Manie Libbok and Johnny Sexton. Photos: World Rugby and Sportsfile.

Springboks vs Ireland: Libbok relishing Sexton duel

Manie Libbok is looking forward to his personal showdown with Johnny Sexton when the Springboks face Ireland in Paris on Saturday.

Springboks vs Ireland flyhalves

Manie Libbok and Johnny Sexton. Photos: World Rugby and Sportsfile.

Springbok flyhalf Manie Libbok is embracing the challenge of facing Ireland’s Johnny Sexton at Stade de France on Saturday when the teams meet in one of the biggest match-ups in the 2023 Rugby World Cup thus far.

The stakes are high in this blue-ribbon fixtures between the No 1 and No 2 ranked teams in the world. Apart from top stop in the pool being on the line, the result could also determine which side finishes the week atop of the World Rugby Test rankings.

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Libbok, who has established himself as the Bok’s first-choice flyhalf this season, has been a key figure for the team, and while he is well aware of the challenge posed by Ireland’s star flyhalf, he says he is looking forward to the contest.

“Johnny is a great player and he’s done amazing things for Ireland over the years,” said Libbok. “On a personal note, I’m preparing as well as I can, and it’s going to be a nice challenge. We are playing the No 1 team in the world, so it’s a massive game for us all.”

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Libbok has been a key figure for the Stormers in the United Rugby Championship and has encountered many of the Irish players. However, he said this match would be a completely different challenge in his first Test against the World No 1’s.

“I’ve played against a few of their players in the URC, but this is different, it’s a Test match, and they’ll be at their best, just as we’d like to be,” he said.

Libbok brushed off the varied opinions about his goal-kicking this season and said: “My whole game will be important. Kicking at posts, out of hand and my whole game in general. I’ve been working hard on my basic skills and I’m putting a lot of work into getting everything right.”

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Manie Libbok Springboks
Manie Libbok (10 – South Africa) takes a shot at goal during the Rugby World Cup 2023 Group Match between the Springboks and Scotland at Stade de Marseille, Marseille, France on Sunday 10th September 2023 Photo: Claire Jeffrey / SPP via Backpagepix