Being without Manie might work for Stormers

Manie Libbok © Gallo Images

New Springbok Mani Libbock will miss Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup clash with ASM Clermont-Auvergne, but DHL Stormers assistant coach Davy Snyman believes he could have a positive impact.

Libbock lost to the Stormers after Ben Loader was sent off in the first half of Sunday’s 28-14 win over London Irish at the Gtech Community Stadium after being shaken up in a stand-up tackle.

It looks like Libbock will be out for long, with Snyman describing his condition as “good”, but the rest of the London Irish game showed what losing Libbock means to the Storm.

Libbock, who was included in the Boks squad for their recent tour of Europe in test matches against France, Italy and England, is a vital cog in the Stormers machine because of the X-factor they bring to their attacking play. his passing and ability to kick with both feet.

Springbok youngster Sacha-Feinberg Mngomezulu, who was in the Bok squad for the November game but did not feature, is a promising prospect who replaced Libbock for the final 62 minutes of the London Irish game.

However, there was a sense that the Stormers had lost their attacking form and rhythm after the departure of Libbock.

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Head coach John Dobson could start Mngomezul for Saturday’s clash with Clermont at DHL Stadium, but there are other options such as another talented young midfielder Kade Woolhuter or possibly Damien Willems. Boxing team number 10 jersey in November.

“I’m back and I see myself playing at half-back for the Storm if needed, but we’ll have to wait until we announce the squad at training tomorrow (Thursday),” Willems said in an online press conference. On Wednesday.


If Willemse plays fly-half, we’ll see Mngomezulu at inside centre. If Wohlhuter starts at 10, we could see Willems move from the linebacker position he was defending in London to inside center and Mngomezulu or Clayton Blommetjees at fullback. Whatever happens, the stormtroopers are not panicking.

“Going without Mani is a challenge, but it’s something we have to do and maybe it’s a good time to adjust to playing without him,” attack coach Snyman said.

“Mani is an important player for us, so it is a big challenge for the team and for the players who will play for him. But at some stage we may have to be without him, maybe in the semi-finals or the final. We need depth in that position and we need to see what other players can do and give them a chance to get used to their role.

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Touted as a future Bok star when he made his senior debut aged 19, but unfortunately sidelined by a long-term injury, Wolhuter wore the number 10 jersey for the Stormers against the Scarlets in the Vodacom United Rugby competition there. Championship game at the end of last year.

In the past, there was a feeling that his tendency to play closer to the gain line, unlike Libbock, might hinder the Stormers, but that didn’t prove to be the case in his stand-up game.

While Snyman is right to say the time is right for the Stormers to test their fly-half depth, that’s not the same as saying it’s not a big game for the Cape side. Round of 16 of the Heineken Cup.

While the Storm could still theoretically lose, what they need is to not lose by bonus points or another big one. They haven’t lost at home since December 2021.

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However, management and players are very aware of what’s going on in this game, Snyman said.

“We know we need to win to secure home advantage in the next round and it’s good to get as many points as possible. It’s a big motivation for us this week because the result of this game will determine how difficult or difficult it will be. beyond the ladder,” Snyman said.

The Stormers returned from their latest trip abroad on Tuesday and Snyman stressed that there will not be much training this week as recovery is key.

However, coming home from the two-game trip to Glasgow and London was easier than going out, as they had a direct flight from Doha to Cape Town despite traveling via Qatar.

“On the way home, we didn’t have any extra domestic flights either way so it was a bit easier,” said the Stormers assistant coach.


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