In a surprising twist to the ongoing Rugby World Cup 2023 saga, South Africa has called upon the talents of Handre Pollard to join their squad. This announcement comes as a replacement for the unfortunate loss of hooker Malcolm Marx, who suffered a knee injury during training, thus rendering him unable to participate in the tournament.
Handre Pollard, a seasoned fly-half at the age of 29, had initially missed out on selection for the original 33-man squad due to a calf injury he sustained back in May. However, his fate took an unexpected turn when he was put on standby for the Springboks. With Marx’s withdrawal, the South African coaching staff wasted no time in drafting Pollard back into the squad.
Jacques Nienaber, the head coach of the South African team, expressed his confidence in the team’s hooker replacements, stating, “We are confident with the cover we have at hooker.” This suggests that they have a plan in place to address Marx’s absence effectively.
What makes Pollard’s return even more intriguing is his recent appearance in a Leicester Tigers jersey. On September 15th, he played for the Tigers for the first time since May, contributing to their 18-14 victory over Sale Sharks in the Premiership Rugby Cup. This return to action after a lengthy injury spell is undoubtedly a promising sign for South Africa.
Nienaber went on to shed light on the decision to bring Pollard back into the fold, stating, “We opted to call up Handre, who has been in our system for years and who was a member of our team in 2019 when we won the World Cup.” It’s a testament to Pollard’s experience and the trust the coaching staff has in his abilities.
Furthermore, Nienaber emphasized Pollard’s dedication to regaining full fitness, which has evidently paid off. The fact that he now has some game time under his belt for his club, Leicester Tigers, is a significant boost to his readiness to rejoin the national team.
Notably, Handre Pollard played a pivotal role in South Africa’s 2019 World Cup victory over England, where he kicked an impressive 22 points. With his return, he will provide valuable depth as a specialist fly-half in the squad, alongside Manie Libbok. It’s a move that could potentially add more firepower to South Africa’s already formidable roster.
As the Rugby World Cup 2023 unfolds, the addition of Handre Pollard adds an intriguing subplot to South Africa’s campaign. Rugby enthusiasts around the world will be watching closely to see how this unexpected twist impacts the Springboks’ quest for another title.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Rugby World Cup 2023: Handre Pollard South Africa
Q: Why was Handre Pollard called up to the South African Rugby World Cup 2023 squad?
A: Handre Pollard was called up to the South African Rugby World Cup 2023 squad as a replacement for injured hooker Malcolm Marx. Marx had suffered a knee injury during training, which ruled him out of the tournament. Pollard, who had initially missed out on selection due to a calf injury, was put on standby for the Springboks and was later drafted back into the squad to provide additional depth and expertise.
Q: When did Handre Pollard last play before being called up to the World Cup squad?
A: Handre Pollard’s last competitive appearance was in a 30-minute stint for the Leicester Tigers in their 18-14 victory over Sale Sharks in the Premiership Rugby Cup on September 15, 2023. This marked his return to action after recovering from the calf injury that had sidelined him earlier.
Q: What is the South African coach Jacques Nienaber’s view on Handre Pollard’s inclusion?
A: South Africa’s head coach, Jacques Nienaber, expressed confidence in the team’s hooker replacements and explained that they were content with the cover they had in that position. He also highlighted Pollard’s previous experience with the national team, stating that they opted to call him up due to his familiarity with the system and his past contributions, particularly during South Africa’s 2019 World Cup victory.
Q: How did Handre Pollard perform in the 2019 World Cup?
A: Handre Pollard played a crucial role in South Africa’s 2019 World Cup triumph. In the final against England, he had an outstanding performance, contributing 22 points to his team’s victory. His kicking prowess and ability to control the game from the fly-half position were instrumental in securing the World Cup for South Africa.
Q: What position will Handre Pollard play in the South African squad?
A: Handre Pollard is a specialist fly-half, and he will likely resume his role in that position for the South African squad in the Rugby World Cup 2023. His inclusion as a fly-half adds depth and experience to the team, and he will be competing for the starting spot with other talented players in that position, such as Manie Libbok.
More about Rugby World Cup 2023: Handre Pollard South Africa
- Official Rugby World Cup 2023 Website: For the latest updates, fixtures, and information on the Rugby World Cup 2023.
- Handre Pollard Profile: Details on Handre Pollard’s rugby career and achievements.
- South African Rugby Union: The official website of the South African Rugby Union for team news and updates.
- Premiership Rugby: Information about the Premiership Rugby Cup and Handre Pollard’s recent club appearance.
- BBC Sport – Rugby Union: For comprehensive coverage of rugby union, including news, fixtures, and analysis.