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Bok Pollard ruled out of Rugby Championship

Flyhalf expected to return for World Cup warm up games in August

Mahlatse Mphahlele Sports reporter
Springbok flyhalf Handre Pollard is recovering from a calf injury.
BOK PIVOT: Springbok flyhalf Handre Pollard is recovering from a calf injury.
Image: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix

Influential flyhalf Handrè Pollard has been ruled out of the Rugby Championship as he continues to recover from a calf injury, Rassie Erasmus has confirmed. 

Pollard is in camp with the squad at their base in Pretoria, where they are preparing for the first match of the tournament against Australia at Loftus in Pretoria on July 8. 

Last week the Boks' team management recalled Elton Jantjies as they anticipated Pollard might not be ready to play in the shortened championship. 

Erasmus said the targeted return for Pollard is during the Rugby World Cup (RWC) warm-up matches against Argentina in Buenos Aires on August 5, Wales in Cardiff on August 19 or the All Blacks at Twickenham on August 25. 

The World Cup in France starts on September 8 and the Springboks kick off pool B against Scotland in Marseille on September 10.

“The only real concern, and it will be touch and go to play a Rugby Championship game, will be Handré Pollard, and I am not including the Argentina Test match on August 5,” Erasmus said when asked about the Boks' injury concerns for the championship. 

SA Rugby's director of rugby added that lock Eben Etzebeth, scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse and flyhalf Damian Willemse are making good progress. 

“Eben’s results really looked good yesterday [Monday]. Jaden and Damian are all ready to go and those are the three where there were questions.

“Handrè is a bit of a worry and he will not be able to play in the Rugby Championship. It is a calf injury he suffered playing for his club Leicester — that’s why we have Elton Jantjies here so Handrè can fully recover and we don’t push him too early.

Manie Libbok of the Stormers is the other flyhalf in the squad. 

“His [Pollard's] situation is more or less the same as Siya [Kolisi] — we are looking at either the Argentina, Wales or New Zealand [World Cup warm-up] Tests, which are not part of the Rugby Championship. 

“We tend to put a lot pressure for the guy to be ready, but we only have two flyhalves here. At training we have a guy like Faf [de Klerk] to slot in at 10 and those kinds of things help a lot.

“Also Damian Willemse is fit now.” 

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