‘Playing for the Boks has changed my life’

Springboks flyhalf Manie Libbok, who was bequeathed the Newcomer of the Year accolade at the SA Sports Awards last week, says the game of rugby has completely changed his life.

As a young boy, Libbok spent his days playing rugby in the sleepy town of Humansdorp, not far from Jeffrey’s Bay, in Eastern Cape, and the thought of playing at the Rugby World Cup, let alone winning the trophy, never crossed his mind.

Today, he is a rugby world champion, and recently, the Stormers’ star player was part of a team that, against all expectations, won the first United Rugby Championship (URC).

“Playing for the Springboks has changed my life completely, and I am grateful for what this sport has given me,” Libbok told Sunday World at the SA Sports Awards in Sun City.

“It has still not sunk in yet, and for me, I just want to be out there and do my best. I cherish every moment that I am selected to play for the Boks, and representing my country is a big honour.

“It is amazing to see kids coming up to us with smiles on their faces, and older people as well.

“It is the best feeling ever, and we knew during the World Cup the support we got back home – they believed in us, and we saw the messages and the videos from SA, and it gave us a lot of drive and self-belief.”

Libbok added that playing for the Stormers in the URC was a big privilege for him and that the highly competitive tournament was really making him a better player.

“It is an amazing competition, and the nice thing about the URC is that every weekend you play against top opposition and top international players.

“It does not matter what team you play against; almost all the teams have top players, and this gives you the opportunity to test yourself against the best in the world.

“I am still pushing myself each and every week for the Stormers, and the rest will come because if I perform to the best for the Stormers, that will give me the best chance to be selected for the Springboks.

“The focus is to give the Stormers the best chance to win the URC. I hope I can continue playing well for the Stormers,” he said.

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