AFP
Wire Service
3 minute read
29 Oct 2021
9:48 am

Pollard on UK Tests, who’ll play at No 9, and having Rassie back

AFP

The Springbok No 10 will first be in action for his French club Montpellier this weekend.

Montpellier flyhalf Handre Pollard has spoken about the Springboks' three Tests in the UK in November, and who might play at No 9. Picture: Matt Roberts/Getty Images

South Africa flyhalf Handre Pollard said he “can’t wait to get stuck” into next month’s internationals but first his Montpellier side host Lyon in the French Top 14 on Saturday.

After their victory at Racing last week Montpellier sit eighth but could overtake Lyon, who start the weekend in third, with a victory.

Pollard will meet up with world champions South Africa next week to prepare for matches against Wales, Scotland and England.

Saturday’s match could influence who starts at scrumhalf alongside Pollard in those games.  

In the impressive win at Racing 92, Cobus Reinach scored twice. 

Regular scrumhalf Faf de Klerk will be missing from the Springbok squad after hip surgery with the Stormers’ Herschel Jantjies and the Sharks’ Grant Williams also in Jacques Nienaber’s squad.

ALSO READ: Reinach in line for Bok start after ‘excellent performance’

Against Racing, Reinach, Pollard told AFP this week, “played an unbelievable game, showing all the X-factor that he’s got.”

“We know what we’ve got in Herschel, we know what we’ve got with Cobus, and with Grant the new guy coming through. 

“Luckily it’s not my decision to make, I’ll leave that up to the coach. We’re very blessed to have them playing scrum-half for us,” the 57-time capped Pollard added.

Against Lyon, Pollard should pit his wits against former New Zealand flyhalf Lima Sopoaga.

Sopoaga, who joined the French club from Wasps in the summer, made his All Blacks debut in July 2015 against Pollard.

‘Proper player Sopoaga’

“He’s brilliant, a great flyhalf, really skillful. He’s a proper rugby player. He’s got a great kicking game,” Pollard said.

“It’s going to be somebody we have to be sharp about and look after, if he plays. I’m really looking forward to the contest,” he added.

South Africa play Wales on November 6. A week later they travel to Murrayfield before a rerun of the 2019 Rugby World Cup final against England on November 20.

“We haven’t beaten Wales in a very long time in Cardiff, so it’s going to be one of our big objectives,” Pollard said.

“Scotland are always a difficult side to play.”

“We want three out of three, that would be perfect. I really can’t wait to get stuck in,” the 27-year-old added.

This weekend, South Africa’s director of rugby Rassie Erasmus will be the subject of a World Rugby misconduct hearing having criticised referee Nic Berry’s performance in an online video after July’s first Test defeat to the British and Irish Lions.

Erasmus back with Boks

“Rassie hasn’t been as hands on, with the World Rugby court case and all that referee stuff,” Pollard said.

“But it’s going to be great to have him back, we really missed him.

“He’s got a funny way of getting the best out of us,” the former Bulls stand-off added.

Pollard’s deal on the Mediterranean coast finishes at the end of the season and the 2014 World under 20 player of the year has been linked with a move back to South Africa with the Sharks, as well as an unnamed franchise in Japan.

“With the long international tour and season, just getting back playing again there are no discussions about that yet,” he said.

“I’m sure in the near future that will come up. We’ll resolve it whenever it does come up,” he added.