Bok stocks take a dip
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: As the all-time greatest flyhalf Dan Carter ranked his top three first-fives in the world last week, many South Africans felt aggrieved that their own favourite 10 wasn’t mentioned by the former All Black.
Many South African fans rated Pollard the ‘form 10 in the world right now’ heading into the Rugby World Cup following the Springboks’ Rugby Championship success.
Following a disastrous opening World Cup game by many Springboks players, including Pollard who had six turnovers, the tide of opinion even amongst Bok supporters has swung.
Pollard was even labeled by some as ‘the All Blacks best player on the pitch’ as he missed a sitter of a penalty goal, committed way too many handling errors and on three occasions wasn’t in a position to receive the pass from his teammate forcing his side to scramble.
Handre Pollard is having a shocker of a game! Not sure what the strategy is here outside of kicking possession away. #NZLvRSA
— Tando (@tandobikitsha) September 21, 2019
— K T (@AupaRamane) September 21, 2019
His performance was described as a ‘shocker’ that ‘single-handedly’ cost the game, ranked even below that of Jerome Garces by one fan. Garces was lambasted in a social media video by South African fans that compiled all his supposed refereeing mistakes.
Reece, Barret and Bridge the finisher. All blacks in for games 1st try. NZ10-SA3 #NZLvRSA 👌🏉
— ThandoManana (@TandoManana) September 21, 2019
Elton Jantjies would have managed this game far better than Handre Pollard has. He has been absolutely shambolic. EJ is not even on the bench.
— Chunky Amateur Afro (@owasendle) September 21, 2019
Where are our Springboks? The team playing now are terrible.. hope they do better second half🤬 Faf de Klerk, willie le roux and Handre Pollard playing a bad game
— Christa (@christakapp1963) September 21, 2019
Poor Game plan, School boy mistakes, one dimensional, Mistakes mistakes mistakes and mistakes. We playing off 9 too much that, handrè Pollard does nothing other than kicking off tee#NZLvRSA
— Sira 🇿🇦 (@Sindisilnyame) September 21, 2019
The Springboks struggled under the high ball as Aaron Smith’s box kicks rained down on Yokohama Stadium, creating an unstructured play in the hot humid conditions.
The All Blacks two tries came off the back of two spilled box kicks, using the second possession to open up the South Africans. After the game, Pollard said it’s the small details the side has to get better at.
“It’s not panic stations, it is very calm. We’ve still got the confidence in the group and coaching staff. It’s those small details we’ve got to be better at,” he said.
“They [New Zealand] are for me arguably the best team in the world, and if you don’t have everything set in place every single time that’s what they are going to do to you.”
The Springboks may get another chance to avenge the loss to the All Blacks, as will Pollard to redeem himself but for now perhaps the South African fans would be wise to listen to Dan Carter when it comes to ranking flyhalves.