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Springbok flyhalf Handre Pollard talks ahead of his return against Tonga

BY Philip Bendon  ·  Friday Sep 29, 2023

World Cup-winning flyhalf Handre Pollard is set to make his long-awaited return to the Springbok starting line-up this weekend.

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Playing just thirty minutes since injuring his calf in May, Pollard’s return to the Bok set-up has come at a late juncture for the World Champions. Irrespective, the 29-year-old brings with him a wealth of experience, having made his international debut in 2014.

Now vying for the starting flyhalf role with incumbent Manie Libbok, who has been an attacking revelation since making his debut in 2022.

The Leicester Tigers star spoke to the media ahead of his comeback, stating his ambition to get up to match speed.

“It’s great to be back, it’s really exciting.

“I am very grateful (to be back), but it’s unfortunate Malcolm (Marx) had to be injured.

“To get the call was amazing. Rassie (Erasmus) phoned me, and it was really surreal.” Pollard said.

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Asked about when he got the call to come back into the squad, Pollard chuckled, saying, “We had an off day at Leicester, and I was busy mowing my lawn. Whenever he (Erasmus) calls, you have to be ready to pick up.”

“The guys have been playing extremely well, we were really good against Ireland, I felt. It was unfortunate we lost a few moments.

“Whatever role there is for me in this squad, whatever they want me to do, I’ll be doing it to the best of my abilities.

“Whether that’s playing, whether that’s helping the guys prepare. Whatever it may be, it’s great to be part of the squad and this environment again.”

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Focusing on how the Springboks won the 2019 edition of the trophy, the interviewer mentioned the Springboks immensely physical forward pack.

“That will never change, set piece dominance, the team that dominates is always going to be the team that wins.

“That’s something we pride ourselves on. But like I said, teams are getting better, and it’s getting harder to get that, so we know that as a squad, we need to find different ways (to win).

“If you play physically upfront and get set piece dominance, it’s going to be hard to lose a test match,” Pollard concluded.

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