Bok flyhalf backed to right the wrongs in Brisbane
SPOTLIGHT: Springbok assistant coach Deon Davids has backed flyhalf Handre Pollard to bounce back with confidence in their second Rugby Championship match against the Wallabies in Brisbane on Saturday.
The Boks suffered a narrow 26-28 defeat to the Wallabies in Round Three on the Gold Coast on Sunday with Pollard’s poor goal-kicking performance coming under the spotlight.
The 27-year-old missed two penalties and a conversion and he was also poor with ball in hand.
“That [goal-kicking] is an area that we did discuss,” Davids told reporters during a virtual media briefing on Tuesday.
“Handre Pollard is a professional rugby player. He is a quality individual on and off the field.
“He is the first guy that put up his hand and say he wasn’t on song. But we know what he can do and we know he is a guy that takes pride in the way he does things.
“We are confident he will correct that and he will work hard on that in order to improve in that specific area.”
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Willemse is the future
Pollard’s replacement, Damian Willemse, was also under the spotlight after he missed an easy conversion late in the game.
However, Davids didn’t want to focus on Willemse’s error and he instead talked about the 23-year-old’s future role for South African rugby.
“Damian Willemse is a talented player. I think we also have to look further than this game,” said Davids.
“We are thinking about the future.
“Our goals were to win the British and Irish Lions series and before that, it was to win the World Cup. We now have short-term goals which include winning the Rugby Championship and doing well on the end-of-year tour.
“It is all part of our plans for the next World Cup and to do that you need to build experience in certain positions with the players in the group.
“We are building experience with players like Damian, Herschel [Jantjies] and Aphelele Fassi.
“Damian missed that kick, but he has so many good qualities and one must look at the big picture and what he can give the team and South African rugby in the future.”