Rugby Championship

Rassie: Misfiring Pollard will bounce back

2018-08-20 07:01
Handre Pollard (Getty)

Cape Town - There were a number of disappointing aspects of South Africa's performance in their 34-21 win over Argentina in Durban on Saturday. 

The lineout did not function well, the Boks were guilty of getting pulled into off-the-ball incidents and their ability to convert pressure into points was almost non-existent at times. 

One of the most glaring issues, however, was the performance of Bok flyhalf Handre Pollard. 

He showed fleeting moments of what makes him Rassie Erasmus' first-choice number 10 with some solid hits, strong runs and clever distribution, but it was Pollard's work of the tee that stood out. 

The 24-year-old kicked just 2 of his 7 shots at goal, leaving a total of 13 points out on the Kings Park turf. 

While the Boks dominated proceedings for almost all of the second half, they would have been a lot more comfortable if they had those points in the bag. 

Pollard shifted from flyhalf to inside centre for the final 20 minutes of the contest as 20-year-old Damian Willemse made his Bok debut at flyhalf, but that is unlikely to happen again in Mendoza this weekend for the Boks' next Rugby Championship clash, also against the Pumas. 

Erasmus is keen on using Willemse at fullback during the early stages of his Bok career. 

Elton Jantjies, meanwhile, is on the plane to Argentina and will come into the selection mix. 

While Erasmus did not seem overly sold on the idea in Durban this past week, he could still field Jantjies at flyhalf and shift Pollard across to No 12. 

Jantjies could also come in as a straight swap for Pollard. 

Either way, the coach expects more from his general when it comes to kicking points.

"It’s obvious … I would be lying to you if I said I was happy with his kicking," Erasmus said of Pollard's performance.

"He will tell you straight up that he is not happy with his goal kicking either. We will work on that and he will come back.

"Beauden Barrett this morning (against Australia) missed three in front of the poles and he made up for it in two or three great tries.

"It wasn’t a great day for him at the office, but he’ll admit it and we’ll get it right." 


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