CONFIRMED: Pollard is back
BREAKING NEWS: As was expected, flyhalf Handre Pollard will join the Springbok team in Paris on Monday.
As @rugby365com reported over the weekend, he is called into the squad to fill the vacancy created by hooker Malcolm Marx – who was ruled out of the World Cup in France earlier this week due to a knee injury.
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The inclusion of Pollard, who returned to the field on Friday for English club Leicester after a calf injury ruled him out of contention for selection for the initial World Cup squad, returns the Bok squad in France to their full quota of 33 players.
Pollard played 30 minutes for Leicester Tigers, kicking a crucial second-half penalty in an 18-14 win over Sale Sharks in a Premiership Cup match on Friday.
Pollard, who was a member of the 2019 World Cup-winning team in Japan, spent some time in camp with the squad for their final two warm-up games against Wales and the All Blacks in August.
In a statement on Sunday, Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber explained the reasoning behind the decision to call up Pollard rather than a forward.
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“We are confident with the cover we have at hooker with Bongi Mbonambi and Deon Fourie, while Marco van Staden has been slotting in the position since our alignment camps in February,” Nienaber said.
“We opted to call up Handre, who has been in our system for years and who was a member of our team in 2019 when we won the World Cup.
“He’s been working hard to return to full fitness, and we are pleased that he now has some game time under his belt for his club, and this will allow him to slot back into the team.
“We’ll work closely with him in the next week to get him back up to speed and back into the full swing of things, and we have no doubt he’ll step up to the challenge.
“He’s been here before so he knows the physical and mental demands of the World Cup.”
The Springboks will travel from Bordeaux to Paris on Monday, where they will begin their preparations for Saturday’s Round Three crunch clash against Ireland at Stade de France in Saint-Denis.