Pollard to help boost Bulls?

2014-10-06 12:13

Cape Town - Springbok flyhalf hero Handre Pollard could boost the resurgent Blue Bulls as the Currie Cup reaches its business end.

With the 2014 Rugby Championship now a thing of the past, attention over the next three weeks will shift towards the domestic scene.

This weekend sees the final round of round-robin action before the knockout phases, and while the majority of the Springboks will not take part - as was confirmed earlier in the year - a few Boks could still feature in latter parts of the domestic competition.

The South African Rugby Union (SARU) on Sunday confirmed that the 20 contracted Springboks will not form part of the latter stages of the Currie Cup. They will instead take part in a training camp in Stellenbosch from October 20-24.

However, there are a few Springboks who are not nationally contracted who could be utilised by their provinces in the run-in to the Currie Cup final on Saturday, October 25.

Of those, Pollard's name immediately catches the eye. The 20-year-old was sublime in last Saturday's 27-25 win over the All Blacks at Ellis Park, scoring two tries as the Boks broke a three-year drought against their old rivals.

The Bulls, who have finally found their groove after a torrid start to the season, would no doubt welcome the opportunity to call on the services of Pollard. They only need a win against Griquas in Pretoria on Saturday (kick-off at 19:10) to secure a semi-final berth.

It would see them face old foes, Western Province (already assured of top spot), in the semi-finals at Newlands on October 18 and having the luxury of picking Pollard would be an added bonus for the men from Pretoria, who lost both their round-robin games to WP in this year's tournament.

It will be interesting to see what transpires this week as Pollard is reportedly struggling with a foot injury and will only be able to train later in the week. However, he should be passed fit for the Currie Cup semi-finals and there's no doubt the Bulls would want to use him.

Maybe SARU will come to some sort of an agreement with the union where Pollard gains some much-needed rest, especially with the Boks set to play four Tests in Europe next month.

Other non-contracted Springboks who will be allowed to return to Currie Cup action this week are Marcel van der Merwe (Blue Bulls), Trevor Nyakane (Cheetahs), Oupa Mohoje (Cheetahs), Warren Whiteley (Lions), Cobus Reinach (Sharks), Lood de Jager (Cheetahs) and Lwazi Mvovo (Sharks).

With SARU indicating all 20 contracted Boks will be in camp in Stellenbosch from October 20-24, it could see somewhat of a strange scenario where a player like centre JJ Engelbrecht will be forced out of Currie Cup action to attend the Springbok camp. Engelbrecht is nationally contracted but has fallen out of favour with the Springboks in recent times, which saw him released to play Currie Cup.

A player like WP centre Damian de Allende - who was recently added to the Springbok contract list - could do with playing Currie Cup rugby. He missed the Boks' June Tests due to a knee injury sustained in Super Rugby and then only played twice in the Rugby Championship. Surely, some much needed game time would do him well?

The decision to let some Boks play Currie Cup has no doubt created a tricky situation for SARU to manage.

Perhaps there should be a ruling which states that a player must at least have played a certain amount of Currie Cup fixtures before being allowed to feature in the knockout stages.

The 36-man Springbok touring squad will be announced on October 26 and will get together in Johannesburg for a pre-departure camp on October 29 before leaving for Dublin on November 1.

The Springboks' end-of-year tour itinerary includes Tests against Ireland in Dublin (November 8), England in London (November 15), Italy in Padova (November 22) and Wales in Cardiff (November 29).

Contracted Springboks:

Willem Alberts, Marcell Coetzee, Damian de Allende, Jean de Villiers, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, JJ Engelbrecht, Eben Etzebeth, Cornal Hendricks, Francois Hougaard, Siya Kolisi, Patrick Lambie, Willie le Roux, Victor Matfield, Tendai Mtawarira, Coenie Oosthuizen, Jan Serfontein, Adriaan Strauss, Flip van der Merwe, Duane Vermeulen


  • Ardu Claassens - 2014-10-06 11:51

    I'm pretty sure Heineke will try and sort something out in order for him to manage Handre, instead of the Bulls. As a Bulls supporter it will be nice, but as a Springbok supporter, this guy needs to be well looked after. Jacques Louis Potgieter is good enough for Currie Cup level.

      Jaco Pieters - 2014-10-06 12:58

      Agree Ardu. As WP man he will give the Bulls quite a lift playing in the semis BUT he has also had a long year already playing Super rugby, world cup and Championship rugga. will be interesting to see which way this 1 go.

      John Smith - 2014-10-06 13:43

      BUT he is still young and needs all the "practice" and experience against older, bigger opponents he can get.

      Willa Prinsloo - 2014-10-06 14:08

      Jacques Louis sucks but in national interest Pollard should be rested

      Willa Prinsloo - 2014-10-06 14:08

      Jacques Louis sucks but in national interest Pollard should be rested

      Grootrot van Zyl - 2014-10-06 14:13

      You go for it, Handre. Show that Racist Coetzee in the Cape that the best man should play. It will teach him a valuable lesson. Imagine the headline: Ex Paarl Gim golden son plays Province out of Currie Cup.

      Hans Oosthuizen - 2014-10-07 13:57

      Yes Schalk, perhaps not bigger or fatter than the Blue Fools but definitely better than them. Look at the log.

  • Grant Robins - 2014-10-06 12:35

    I dont think it fair that all the Springboks now filter back in to the currie cup sides. The sides have worked hard up until now, and here come the springboks to take their places in the respective sides.

  • Jesse Arries - 2014-10-06 12:41

    Will be better for him to spend as much time as possible in the Springbok setup & training camps, as he is the favourable flyhalf for the no.10 jersey for the UK tour. Or he could play Currie cup, possibly get injured and be out of the UK tour altogether. just my 2cents....

  • Bjorn Muller - 2014-10-06 13:00

    Los die man asb. dat hy eerder rus of saam met die Bokke oefen. As Bul ondersteuner sal dit seker nice wees, maar as Bok ondersteuner is dit beter dat hy nie nou weer die skop sindroom aanleer nie.

  • Vusi Mbatha - 2014-10-06 13:08

    Agreed. We are likely to play an away semi and the chances of us winning it are slim. Having Pollard there would increase the chances but the wonder kid needs to rest. Jacques is fine. none of the Springboks should play according to me. Yes fans pay to see quality rugby, but the currie cup has been producing great rugby without the Boks. Why introduce them now? it would be completely unfair if, for example Jacques or Rudie Paige had to make way for Handre or Hougaard

  • Wessie van der Westhuizen - 2014-10-06 15:08

    As Pollard so belangrik is vir die Bokke, gee hom 'n kontrakdan is die probleem opgelos.

  • pages:
  • 1