Springboks not rushing back Handre Pollard for crunch Ireland match - Sky
Handre Pollard won’t be rushed into the Springboks for this weekend’s humdinger clash between the top-two sides in the world.
The first five-eighth is training with South Africa ahead of the crunch pool B match against Ireland in Paris on Sunday morning (NZT), but only a string of injuries would result in him featuring in the highly anticipated Rugby World Cup match.
“He will definitely not be selected for this, apart from if we get two or three injuries,” Springboks director of rugby Rassie Erasmus said.
Pollard missed selection for the world champions’ title defence due to a calf injury, but has joined the squad as an injury replacement after hooker Malcolm Marx was ruled out with a knee injury.
The 29-year-old playmaker returned from injury last weekend during Leicester’s Gallagher Premiership win at Sale.
“He’s only just joined us today, he’s just played his first minutes in 14, 15 weeks for Leicester on Friday,” Erasmus told media in France.
“That was basically the initial reason why we couldn’t bring him to the World Cup. It’s good to have him here and now he must get up to speed with our intensity of training sessions, get through our training sessions and slot in nicely.”
With a final pool match to play – against Tonga on October 2 – following the match against world No 1 Ireland, Erasmus indicated Pollard could feature before the playoffs.
South Africa will welcome back lock Eben Etzebeth to face Ireland, after he missed their rout of Romania with a shoulder injury.
Etzebeth was forced out of South Africa’s opening victory against Scotland, but had returned to training, forwards coach Deon David confirmed.
The winner of pool B, likely to be the victor of the match between the Springboks and Ireland, is expected to face the All Blacks in the quarterfinals.