SA's Pollard to start against Tonga, says Erasmus

7 months ago 189
Handre PollardHandre Pollard has been called up to the South Africa World Cup squad as injury cover for Malcolm Marx

Rassie Erasmus says Handre Pollard will play for South Africa against Tonga in their final World Cup pool game.

The Springboks failed to kick 11 points as fly-half Manie Libbok and scrum-half Faf de Klerk missed four shots at goal.

Fly-half Pollard, who led South Africa to World Cup success in 2019, has been called up to the squad as a replacement for injured hooker Malcolm Marx.

"Handre will play this weekend [against Tonga in Marseille next Sunday], but let's see how he does the other stuff in the game," South Africa's director of rugby Erasmus said on Sunday.

"Does he get through it on the contact side of things? I am sure he'll also take some time to find his rhythm with his kicking under pressure.

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"The Tonga game will be a great test for him as a yardstick to see where he is before we go, if we go, into those quarter-finals, and who will be on the field."

Pollard, 29, missed out on selection for the original 33-man squad after picking up a calf injury in May.

He was called up after being on standby for the Springboks when Marx was ruled out of the tournament with a knee injury he suffered in training.

Pollard, who kicked 22 points in the 2019 World Cup final victory over England, played for the first time since May in a 30-minute appearance for Leicester Tigers in their Premiership Rugby Cup win over Sale Sharks on 15 September.

Libbok has impressed with ball in hand and from the boot in open play, after producing a try-making no-look kick for Kurt-Lee Arendse to catch and score without breaking stride in the Pool B win over Scotland.

"Manie is certainly playing brilliant fly-half rugby at the moment, but his goal-kicking is not matching that," said Erasmus.

South Africa are second in the Pool B and will secure qualification for the quarter-finals with victory over Tonga in Marseille next Sunday.

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