WATCH! ‘Captain’ Bongi Mbonambi’s emotional message to Handre Pollard before THAT penalty against France
Before kicking the game-winning penalty against France in their Rugby World Cup quarterfinal last weekend, Springboks flyhalf Handre Pollard shared his inspiration on Wednesday.
In the 69th minute, with South Africa leading 26-25, Pollard converted a penalty inside his own half, which turned out to be the game-winning kick.
Despite the fact that Pollard’s goal-kicking skills have received most of the attention throughout this tournament, the flyhalf claimed he was still considering aiming for posts when the penalty distance was above 50 meters until captain Bongi Mbonambi yelled some encouraging words.
Pollard explained the situation in an interview with SuperSport, posted on their Instagram profile.
“Bongi screamed in my ear as we were still talking about it.”
Since it was far away and the game’s circumstances were uncertain, we were still sort of debating whether we should seize the opportunity. After telling the referee that we were going to take the shot, Bongi Mbonambi then walks over to him and shouts, “This is for South Africa!” in Pollard’s ear.
“I said okay as I gave Bongi a look. That kind of support from your colleagues is wonderful. In terms of kicking, it greatly boosts your confidence.
Before Pollard was introduced in the 45th minute, starting number 10 Manie Libbok had a successful night at the kicking tee, converting two of his three conversion attempts.
During his time on the field, Pollard was successful with a conversion and the lone penalty.
“Like always, in those moments you trust your process and the hours you’ve put in. You’re always going to try and kick everything over, but it’s not reality. Luckily for me it came off,” said Pollard.
Horses for courses … Should the Springboks make a flyhalf switch for Rugby World Cup semi-final?
Manie Libbok might be the better option to close out the semi-final against England on Saturday. Photo: Steve Haag Sports via BackpagePix
If the Springboks are thinking about switching up their flyhalf for Saturday’s Rugby World Cup semifinal against England in Paris, it won’t come as a surprise.
When Handre Pollard joined the team earlier this month, the discussion among Springbok supporters centered on the rivalry between Manie Libbok and Pollard.
It’s just a matter of figuring out how to combine the two to offer the Boks the best chance of competing for the trophy and winning games.
This past weekend, after a 50-plus-meter Pollard penalty handed the Springboks the lead, the defending world champions defeated France 29-28 thanks to their seamless combination.
But it was Libbok’s speed in the backline, his vision on the attack and accurate box kicks that sparked the running rugby with which South Africa countered the dangerous French side magnificently.
Tomorrow’s team announcement will show exactly how the Boks plan to take England apart and which one of Libbok and Pollard start will be vital in the gameplan.
Maybe it’s time for Bok coach Jacques Nienaber and his selectors to switch things up and bring the steady Pollard in to start this crunch clash and have the mercurial Libbok on the bench to close out the game.
Off the kicking tee, Pollard played a massive role in the outcome of the 2019 final, nailing four penalties before half-time to build up a lead laid that the perfect platform for scoreboard pressure to get to England. And once they started chasing the game, that’s when things started opening up and the Springbok wingers could pounce as the English fell apart.
So that’s where Libbok joins the fray, with a points cushion that allows him to be at his destructive best.
The tactic of starting with a fast-paced game against France worked perfectly, and the English will definitely study the quarter-final clash to figure out how to counter that.
And there is no way that England will follow in France’s footsteps and try to speed up the game right at the start.
They are not a team made for that type of rugby.
They play boring rugby and will definitely depend more on their forwards to get them going and try and force penalties for kickable points.
England captain and flyhalf Owen Farrell kicked 20 points, including five penalties and a drop goal, against Fiji in the quarters.
They had to play slow to avoid Fiji running rampant in classical Pacific Island style.
And that is exactly what they will try and do to slow down the Boks. Whether they will succeed, though, is another question.
Therefore, why not reverse the script with Libbok’s arrival after the game is already underway and England has worn out its legs all over the field? Pollard could then control what happens in the first half of the game.
Think about the devastation the Bok assault might cause if Libbok is released while someone like Manu Tuilagi and his crew are on the move.
There is no reason why Libbok couldn’t twist the dagger if Pollard were to start and succeed in creating that buffer for his side.
And if the Springboks can demonstrate that whoever they choose for a gameplan on a particular day can fulfill the position and the other flyhalf can arrive, that will also put an end to the flyhalf discussion once and for all.
Pollard did that well against France. Maybe, just maybe it’s time for Libbok to do it versus England.