Handre Pollard Returns to South Africa’s World Cup Squad
Handre Pollard Rejoins the South Africa World Cup Squad
Handre Pollard, the fly-half instrumental in ensuring South Africa’s World Cup victory in 2019, has been called up to the South Africa World Cup squad. This move comes as a response to the knee injury suffered by hooker Malcolm Marx during training, leading to his exit from the tournament. The team’s decision to bring back Pollard follows their 13-8 defeat by Ireland in Paris, where they fell short by 11 points. During this match, fly-half Manie Libbok and scrum-half Faf de Klerk missed four attempts at goal.
Pollard’s Potential Role in the Upcoming Match Against Tonga
Rassie Erasmus, the director of rugby for South Africa, has confirmed that Pollard will participate in their final World Cup pool game against Tonga. Erasmus sees this game as an opportunity to evaluate Pollard’s performance before the potential progression to the quarter-finals. Despite the previous successes of Pollard, his recent absence from the game due to a calf injury picked up in May means that his current form is yet to be assessed. He recently returned to the field, making a 30-minute appearance for Leicester Tigers in their Premiership Rugby Cup win over Sale Sharks on 15 September. Erasmus shared that Pollard had only completed a week of full-contact training sessions with the team.
Addressing South Africa’s Performance So Far
Erasmus furthermore commented on the performance of Manie Libbok, stating that while his fly-half rugby play was commendable, his goal-kicking needed improvement. He reassured that it was a known issue and steps were being taken to address it. As it stands, South Africa ranks second in Pool B and can secure their spot in the quarter-finals with a victory over Tonga in the upcoming match.
Challenges and Expectations Moving Forward
Pollard’s re-entry into the team is not without its challenges. Having been out of the game due to injury, he will need to reclaim his form swiftly. Despite this, expectations are high given his past successes and his recent return to the field with Leicester Tigers. With South Africa’s hope of progressing to the quarter-finals hinging on their performance in the upcoming match against Tonga, Pollard’s performance will be under close scrutiny. His return could be the turning point for South Africa as they strive to defend their title.
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