Rudolph Jacobs
Rugby Journalist
2 minute read
16 Nov 2017
7:11 am

Handre Pollard is ready to help save the Springboks’ bacon

Rudolph Jacobs

It seems highly likely that the 23-year-old pivot will replace Elton Jantjies for Saturday's Test against France.

Handre Pollard looks set to take over the No 10 jersey for the Springboks. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile/Gallo Images.

Expected to be handed his first start on Thursday, flyhalf Handre Pollard said the Springboks are eager to right wrongs this weekend against France in Paris.

The 23-year-old Pollard, who twice came off the bench this year, is expected to replace Elton Jantjies.

It will be his first appearance in the starting XV since the third-place playoff match against Argentina at the 2015 World Cup.

“I must fulfill my role according to what the coach needs from me. If I get a start I’ll be very happy and I will obviously grab the opportunity, but whatever the team needs from me I’ll be doing,” said Pollard.

“It still hurts from last week but we’ll used that as motivation and create some positive energy. We’ll just have to learn how to play better in these conditions.”

Given how poorly the Springboks adapted in the humiliating 38-3 loss to Ireland, it’s little surprised their eyes have now been opened to how different conditions can be in Europe.

“For a lot of guys it was the first time on tour in the Northern Hemisphere. They got first-hand experience on how tough it is. It’s not like back home where you can throw the ball around like we are used to,” said Pollard.

He himself gain some insights last week despite only playing about 24 minutes.

“I have learned a lot.”

Another challenge the young pivot pointed out is the disruption to the coaching staff the next two weeks.

The Boks say goodbye this weekend to forward coach Johann van Graan before he joins Munster, while a conflict of interest makes defence coach Brendan Venter unavailable for next week’s Italy Test.

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