Champions Cup: Stormers lose Manie Libbok to concussion for final pool game against Clermont

Stormers: Manie Libbok during a warm-up Credit: Alamy
Stormers: Manie Libbok during a warm-up Credit: Alamy

Stormers head coach John Dobson has confirmed Manie Libbok will be sidelined for next week’s final pool game in the Champions Cup after leaving the field concussed against London Irish.

Libbok’s concussion came from a clash of heads with Ben Loader, who, despite showing no malice, did not make enough effort to protect the ball carrier and was sent off for the indiscretion.

Double red

It was not the Exiles’ only red card of the day, as Ciaran Parker was sent off for a dangerous clean-out on veteran Deon Fourie.

The 28-14 win over London Irish puts the Stormers in prime position to qualify for the last 16, with only a home game against Clermont left in the Champions Cup group stage.

“He [Libbok] got a knock to his head and he failed his HIA [Head Injury Assessment],” Dobson told reporters after the match.

“There is a joke that he failed the ‘language Test’.

“It’s a concussion and he will have to go through the whole protocol now.”

Dobson acknowledged the lack of malice in the Loader tackle but admitted it is never easy to lose a key playmaker.

“There’s no way Ben Loader comes in there trying to decapitate Manie. It’s one hell of a tough situation – play was moving fast, it was a two on one, there was a try at risk,” Dobson said.

“You want to see if you can make a hit and move across. But it’s a red card. We don’t view it as any form of malice, but it’s also not great when your Springbok flyhalf is out of the game with an HIA.

“I would differentiate slightly between Ben Loader’s tackle which was a high-speed rugby action when Deon Fourie got hit as a jackler – that’s where you’ve got to protect because guys are really exposed.”

Solid options

Dobson does have options to stand in for Libbok, with starlet Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu holding his own after replacing the Springbok in Brentford. However, outside of the prodigy is the obvious option of Damian Willemse, who played an extended portion of last year at 10 for the Boks.

“We got options at No.10. We trained Sacha at No.15 and No.12, so it was probably a mistake to put him straight on at No.10 on my part,” said the coach.

“But he is an option at No.10. The other options are Damian Willemse, Jean-Luc du Plessis and Kade Wolhuter, so we will be fine there.”

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