Pollard at No.12 in Nienaber's playbook?
SPOTLIGHT: Starting Handre Pollard at No.12 and Elton Jantjies at No.10 could be exciting, but we will probably only see that combination in the closing stages of matches on the Springboks’ end-of-year tour.
Pollard playing in the midfield was one of the questions put to Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber during a press conference.
The Bok playmaker ended South Africa’s 31-29 win over the All Blacks on October 2 in the midfield.
This past weekend he started in the No.12 jersey in Montpellier’s win over Racing 92.
“Handre is our No.10 and he will probably always be our No.10,” said Nienaber.
“If you think about how we finished the game against New Zealand, it’s always nice to have that option and that versatility.
“If you look at our squad, that is the one thing we are pretty blessed with, some versatile players.
“Lukhanyo [Am] can play at wing and he can play at No.13. We got Frans Steyn who can cover multiple positions and Cheslin [Kolbe], who is not on tour, can pretty much play any backline position from No.9.
“We are fortunate in our setup and I think that gives us an opportunity sometimes to go with a six-[forwards]-two[-backs] split or maybe a five/three split depending on who you are playing.”
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Reinach for No.9?
Meanwhile, Nienaber said Pollard’s Montpellier teammate Cobus Reinach was “excellent” against Racing.
The 31-year-old scrumhalf scored two tries in the 32-21 win in Paris with his second being a superb 80-metre effort.
South Africa’s first-choice scrumhalf Francois de Klerk is out injured, which puts Reinach up against Herschel Jantjies for the No.9 jersey.
“With Faf [de Klerk] being injured there is a spot open for Cobus, Herschel and Grant [Walliams],” said Nienaber.
“That is what you want in a squad, you want good competition. It drives good standards.
“He [Cobus] played against British and Irish Lions in the last game and he has been excellent for us.
“If you look how Herschel finished the last game against New Zealand, I thought he had a pretty good outing.
“I think we are very fortunate from a Springbok point of view that we have very good nines all currently pushing for starting spots and that is what you want.”