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VIDEO: Manie gets his 'groove' back as Bok flyhalf competition heats up

SPOTLIGHT: Stormers flyhalf Manie Libbok feels that his confidence levels are rising again ahead of a crucial stage of the season.

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The World Cup winner had starring roles in his side’s two tour victories against the Dragons (Newport) and Connacht (Galway) in the United Rugby Championship recently.

His goal-kicking, a part of his game that has come under question in the past, was spot on in the 44-21 win over the Welsh.

He kicked eight from eight in that game in Newport before producing a man-of-the-match performance in a crucial 16-12 win in Galway.

Against Connacht, he played a key role in side’s only try of the game and kicked a conversion and three penalties.

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“I am very happy with where I’m at with my kicking,” said Libbok ahead of his team’s final-round clash against the Lions on Saturday.

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“I’ve been working extremely hard with [kicking coach] Gareth Wright.

“It’s an ongoing thing. My focus was to keep working on it and realise that at some point it would come through again and I will find my groove again.

“I am just happy it happened now, especially going into the play-off rounds.”

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South Africa’s flyhalf pool has been starting to look a lot rosier in recent months with players like Siya Masuku (Sharks) and Sanele Nohamba (Lions) putting their hands up for Bok selection with some eye-catching performances.

Masuku was a standout once again in the Sharks’ Challenge Cup Final victory over Gloucester last Friday.

As with any team sport, competition for places will bring pressure but it’s something Libbok is embracing with the Test season just around the corner.

“Sanele is a quality player. I’m stoked with how he is going now and I am happy for him.

“You can see he is enjoying his rugby. That is what any rugby player wants.

On Masuku, Libbok added: “I am very happy for Siya [Masuku] and with how well he is doing.

“There is always going to be pressure and that’s the same for all the teams.

“Everyone is stepping up and doing their very best in terms of their form for their unions and giving themselves every possible chance to be selected.

“There is always pressure playing in this competition.

“Across the whole competition, the quality of the rugby is very high, so everyone is pushing hard.

“I am just happy for him and with where he is at with his game and I am wishing him the very best going forward in his career.”

@rugby365com

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