Pollard comeback 'put on ice'

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 15:29

REACTION: Seasoned Springbok Handré Pollard is another two weeks away from full fitness and will not feature in any of the matches against Argentina.

Bok coach Allister Coetzee explained why the 23-year-old was not named - at least on the bench - for the opening round of the Rugby Championship.

South Africa host Argentina in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, with Elton Jantjies starting in the No.10 jersey and the prodigiously talented 20-year-old Curwin Bosch on the bench.

Earlier in the week the message from the Bok camp was that they will "nurture" Bosch and ease him into the Test arena.

However, with Pollard not quite ready yet - after spending the last 18 months on the sidelines with a succession of injuries, Bosch will be the back-up Bok flyhalf and fullback for the encounter with Los Pumas.

"Curwin Bosch is a wonderful young talent," Coetzee told a media briefing at the team's base in PE.

"It is my responsibility to manage him properly.

"[He is] a prolific goal-kicker, while he covers No.10 and No.15. We had that luxury with Frans Steyn [in June], as the back-up No.10 and also a goal-kicker.

"Therefor a player like Curwin [Bosch] is an ideal selection on the bench."

Coetzee explained that in June they had only one specialist flyhalf standing - with Patrick Lambie out injured and Pollard also out injured.

"Now we have three [flyhalves] - Elton [Jantjies], Handré Pollard back in the mix - he is looking really good - and we have Curwin [Bosch] as a back-up."

Coetzee said that in a crisis situation he would have considered selecting Pollard.

"There is another two weeks for him to get in even better condition," the Bok coach said, adding: "We had him at the medical camp in Stellenbosch [earlier this year].

"Skill wise he is really getting there [with] his sharpness."

Pollard's bad run of lick with injuries seems to be nearing the end.

The 20-times capped No.10 missed the entire 2016, after he underwent shoulder and knee surgery.

To complicate matters a serious shoulder infection almost resulted in his arm being amputated.

The flyhalf tore knee ligaments at a Bulls training session in February, which ruled him out for the season.

He then opted to have surgery on a shoulder that he had first injured at the 2015 World Cup and the aggravated while playing in Japan.

The infection in his shoulder saw him being just weeks away from possibly having his arm amputated.

The infection was so severe that his doctors warned him that he may lose his arm.

In April this year Pollard again went under the knife, following a training ground mishap, to repair his right ankle.

Pollard was named to start on the bench for the South African 'A' team that beat the French Barbarians in Soweto in June, but the flyhalf was withdrawn from the matchday squad after he Pollard suffered another "minor strain" to his ankle at training.

@rugby365com

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