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Captain's profile: Handré Pollard

Paarl Gimnasium captain Handré Pollard will make a timely return from injury to lead out him team against rivals Paarl Boys High on Saturday.

The prodigious Paarl Gim pivot needs little introduction after guiding the South African Under-20 team to glory in the IRB Junior World Championship on home soil in June.

He suffered a setback in Western Province's opening match of this year's Craven Week against the Blue Bulls, who he will join in 2012, when he sustained a quad injury that has sidelined him since the July 10 encounter.

The 18-year-old told FNB Classic Clashes that he is ready and relishing his return to the field in Saturday's blockbuster derby.

"The quad is fine. I'm 100 percent and I'm running full-out, so I can't wait to get back onto the field on Saturday," said Pollard.   

Coming off the high of winning the IRB Junior World Championship and playing an integral role in the Baby Boks' triumph, returning to schoolboy rugby might take encouragement for some, but not for Pollard.   

"There's no lack of motivation at all. I've been looking forward to playing with my friends again for a long time. The game on Saturday is almost as big as one of the World Champs games so I'm really looking forward to it," said Pollard.  

As skipper and an experienced big match player, Pollard said the focus this week has been on staying composed as a unit.

"I've been encouraging the guys to stay calm and to not get caught up in the sideshows, the people, the press, the pressure, to just stay calm and to go out and enjoy it."


He added that he expects a physical onslaught from Paarl Boys.

"We're expecting a very physical game.

"They've got a brilliant pack, a big, tall tight five and they have a lot of speed on the wings and at fullback. We'll have to front up and our defence will need to be top notch," concluded Pollard.


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