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Dobson on Manie: 'We can't rely on him all the time'

REACTION: Stormers head coach John Dobson admitted that his team will have to learn to be successful without star playmaker Manie Libbok.

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As he did a number of times in other matches, Libbok played an integral role in the Cape side’s eye-catching 46-19 win over the Sharks in a United Rugby Championship rescheduled Round One clash in Durban on Saturday.

Libbok, who contributed 19 points to the tally, was at the centre of most of the visitors’ attacking endeavour and although was a little inconsistent kicking from hand, his handling enabled the Stormers to look dangerous every time they entered the Sharks’ half and he deservedly went over for a try as well.

The 25-year-old got things rolling from the start when showed quick feet to evade the Sharks’ defensive line and draw his man in before offloading to a supporting Herschel Jantjies to run in under the posts for the first try of the game.

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“The original plan was to rest Manie this week, but Jean-Luc [du Plessis] was out, so we brought him in again,” Dobson told reporters after the match.

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“We need to give him a bit of a break now because we need to build depth there.

“We can’t rely on him all the time.

“He made mistakes today [Saturday], but jeepers he makes things happen and I think that is important in rugby.

“You can put a robotic No.10 in games and probably be safer, but for the good of the game and how the Stormers want to play, Manie is the guy.

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“I am really chuffed with him. I am excited about what Jean Luc and Kade [Wolhuter] can do, but they all play a similar sought of game.

“I thought he [Libbok] was fantastic in terms of opening the game up. The first try set the tone of the game and it was a Stormers try that we work on and that is who we are.

“He was instrumental in that.”

‘Negative emotions’

The Stormers entered Saturday’s match after a 5-35 defeat to Ulster in Belfast and Dobson admitted that the match at Kings Park was a priority in the grand scheme of things.

“We have to put the Ulster game into context in terms of the personnel, the [injury] disruptions and where we were playing,” Dobson explained.

“There are negative emotions when you lose 5-35 – our heaviest defeat in the URC – but we were always coming for this [Sharks] game to be honest and that is why we didn’t take people to Ulster.

“That was our plan for this game as it was very important in terms of the South African Conference and getting a bit of a cushion.

“I suppose there were also emotions after we lost two URC games in a row.

“Our plan was to come for this game and we thought we had an opportunity, but I didn’t quite expect it to turn out like it did today [Saturday].”

With the five points gained, the Stormers now trail leaders Leinster by 11 points, while the Sharks remain in the final play-off place in eighth.

@rugby365com

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