Manie Libbok substitution was warranted


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Guys you know how much I love Manie Libbok but the substitution was warranted. So too was Siya’s and Eben’s and others. We would have lost that semi-final without those changes.

I was not looking at race but at the team dynamic and how we needed to adapt to the opposition and playing conditions.

Hindsight is a perfect science and it is abundantly clear that the management got the selections wrong. The team’s performance was flat and we had to adapt or die!

I see people wanting to make it an issue of race. We need to evolve our thinking. We prayed for transformation and change. We are experiencing that. The whole team was picked on merit. Tell me who does not belong there?

In his post-match press conference, Nienaber laid out the reasons behind the decision and was adamant that Libbok would accept why it happened.

“The beauty of this group is that we’re open and honest,” said Nienaber. “Because we have the right players, the players accept it.

“Sometimes things are not going your way. We’ve done it with numerous others. Bongi [Mbonambi] in 2018, we took him off after 35 minutes. That specific day he wasn’t on fire but then he started the next week.

“It’s the same with [Libbok] – we took him off early because things didn’t go his way. The main thing is that everything is for the team, and they understand that. That’s the beauty of the squad, you’re open and honest and players take it on the chin.”

Nienaber went on to stress that even though an early substitution was not how Libbok would have liked his game to go, he is still an option to start the final against the All Blacks.

The Springboks are in a World Cup final because those men who represent all of us, are a band of brothers. I have listened to coach Jacques about why he made the changes that he did and I believe him.

The team management had the courage to act when it was much needed. They needed to correct course and right a clearly wayward ship. I applaud them for it.

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