Ackermann not worried about Pollard
INJURY UPDATE: South Africans will be breathing a sigh of relief after SA'A' coach Johan Ackermann confirmed that flyhalf Handré Pollard’s late withdrawal from the team which defeated the French Barbarians 48-28 in Soweto was a precautionary matter.
Pollard was selected to start on the bench for the South Africa 'A' team last Friday and ease his way back onto the field after being sidelined for the past two months with an injury to his ankle, which he suffered while playing Super Rugby for the Bulls in April.
However, the Springbok flyhalf was withdrawn from the matchday squad and replaced by Lionel Cronje moments before kick-off, leaving many wondering whether Pollard's injury plagued season had taken yet another blow.
Speaking to reporters after the game on Friday, Ackermann eased fears surrounding Pollard's latest setback and explained that Pollard was feeling a minor strain on his ankle after training on Tuesday and the medical team made a decision to withdraw him from the squad.
"What happened is we did a little bit of contact on Tuesday and he came to me and he said he still feels the ankle that he injured during the Super Rugby campaign. We pulled him out and we had the rest day on Wednesday and then we had captains yesterday [Thursday] and as he started to warm up he said he still feels a little bit of pain and we were willing to wait and make a late call in the warm-up," explained Ackermann.
Ackermann added that he made the correct decision to withdraw Pollard from the team in order to ensure that Pollard does not do further damage to his ankle.
"Medically and personally we felt that it is a long season still. Maybe just this one game, one tackle, it's going to make a two-month thing, so for his own health, we just decided to [replace Pollard], because he's not comfortable and that means he's not going to play with confidence.
"Luckily we had Lionel [Cronje] here, so hopefully the scan they did didn't show too much damage. Hopefully, it will be a week or two - I'm not the doctor - and then he can play for the Bulls and work his way back into SA rugby," stated Ackermann.
By Josh Isaacson, in Johannesburg