Pretoria - Springbok flyhalf Handre Pollard is set to miss the start of the season with a shoulder injury.
Pollard returned from his stint with his Japanese club NTT Docomo with the shoulder niggle that looks to keep him out for at least a month and perhaps even longer depending on how he recovers from his rehabilitation programme.
In all likelihood he is set to miss the opening Super Rugby game against the Stormers at Newlands on February 27 and may miss a few more games as well if he doesn’t recover quickly.
The injury, which is a recurring one for Pollard, was aggravated at the Rugby World Cup and plagued him in England, but seemed to have cleared up before he left for Japan.
However he hurt himself in Japan again and the fear is that he may need some sort of surgery to ensure long term he is fine to play again.
This all leaves the Bulls in a bit of a quandary as they have few senior players in a young squad this year under new coach Nollis Marais and will need every bit of experience they can use.
Add to this the fact that Pollard is the team’s vice-captain and it is clear why he will be missed so dearly by his teammates.
In the interim former Cheetahs and Bulls flyhalf Francois Brummer will stand in for Pollard while young Tiaan Schoeman, who did duty during the Currie Cup is the other option for Marais.
Further than that there are very few options, leaving the Bulls hoping they don’t pick up another injury in their two pre-season games against the Cheetahs and Lions in the next few weeks.
Pollard’s injury will be reassessed in a month’s time, after he has undergone intensive rehabilitation, where a decision will be taken if he needs any further treatment.
According to the Blue Bulls’ High Performance Manager, Xander Janse van Rensburg, a consultation with a shoulder specialist revealed that the player will need some rest and rehabilitation.
"Handré will undergo a very thorough rehabilitation programme to improve the mobility and strength of the shoulder," Janse van Rensburg said.
"We will then have another look in four weeks. If it becomes clear in this time that the shoulder is not responding to treatment, we will discuss the options of surgery. We are confident though that the decision to rehabilitate the shoulder for now will be the best one and this will hopefully ensure Handre be fit and ready for the 2016 Vodacom Super Rugby competition."
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