Libbok joins Stormers after fighting for game time in Sharks jersey

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Utility back player Manie Libbok has left the Sharks for Western Province/Stormers.
Utility back player Manie Libbok has left the Sharks for Western Province/Stormers.
Gallo Images

Lack of game time pushed Manie Libbok out of the Sharks camp.

On Wednesday, the 24-year-old utility back was unveiled as one of the Stormers’ new signings ahead of the United Rugby Championship (URC).

The former South African U20 player was confirmed as a new arrival together with lock Adre Smith, who joined from the Griquas.

The two signed three-year contracts with the Cape Town-based franchise, as South Africa’s four URC participants were finalising their squads.

Libbok’s departure from the Durban-based franchise will come as a shock to some, because the versatile player only joined them from the Bulls last year.

During his short stay at Kings Park Stadium, Libbok made just 16 appearances and The Witness has learnt that the Humansdorp-born player was not happy with that.

At flyhalf, Libbok had stiff competition from players such as Curwin Bosch and Lionel Cronje, while the young but talented Boeta Chamberlain was also in the mix. He was also fighting for a starting berth at fullback against the likes of Anthony Volmink, Aphelele Fassi, who is currently with the Springboks, and most recently Bosch after he was selected at flyhalf during the later stages of Currie Cup.

Libbok jumped ship as the Sharks prepare to leave South Africa for a five-week United Kingdom tour tomorrow.

The Sharks will kick-off their URC journey with a tough fixture against Munster of Ireland on Saturday, September 25. Munster are one of the top teams in Pro14 as they have won the competition several times.

The Sharks will announce their travelling squad of 35 players and 10 backroom staffers tomorrow. The Durbanites will obviously be without their Springbok stars and new signings, including Argentina flyhalf Joaquin Diaz Bonilla and Samoan loose forward Olajuwon Noa, who are all on national duty.

Another new signing, former Wallabies star Ben Tapuai, will also miss the tour as he is still in Australia due to visa problems.

Cheetahs stars Ruan Pienaar and Tian Meyer are expected to be in the 35-man squad that will travel with Sean Everitt’s men to the UK.

Meanwhile, the South African Rugby Union announced telecommunications company Vodacom as the title sponsor for the URC. For the next four years, the tournament will be known as the Vodacom United Rugby Championship in South Africa.

Vodacom was also the title sponsor for Super Rugby before the South African teams were booted out of the Southern Hemisphere competition.

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