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Jon Cardinelli

Pollard set for crack at Pumas


Handré Pollard takes the ball to the line at training Handré Pollard takes the ball to the line at training

Handré Pollard is likely to win his second cap when the Springboks play against Argentina this Saturday. JON CARDINELLI in Pretoria, reports.

Pollard's star continues to ascend. The 20-year-old flyhalf should be part of the Boks' match-day squad this weekend, and there is a strong chance he will start.

The Boks trained on the fields outside Loftus Versfeld on Monday afternoon. Pollard spent the majority of the session in the flyhalf position, with Morné Steyn used as the alternate option.

It wouldn't come as that much of a surprise if Pollard was to start this Saturday. A lot's been asked of the youngster in his first season of senior rugby, but he has risen to the challenge on each and every occasion. Indeed, it was on his Test debut against Scotland this past June where Pollard made the biggest statement of all.

If Heyneke Meyer does intend to start Pollard during this Rugby Championship tournament, there's no better opportunity than in a home game against the Pumas. Steyn is the more experienced and accomplished flyhalf, and will have a key role to play in the clashes against Australia and New Zealand where line and goal-kicking will be paramount.

It would mark Pollard's second start for the Boks, albeit in a very different backline to the one who fronted in Port Elizabeth two months ago.

Jean de Villiers ran at No 12 on Monday, although not for the entire session. The Bok captain is still recovering from a knee injury that ruled him out of the June Tests. While he is likely to start this Saturday, he will be managed carefully in the buildup.

The uncapped Damian de Allende looks set to join De Villiers in the midfield. Meyer had hoped to blood De Allende during the June Test series, but these plans were scuppered when De Allende succumbed to an injury of his own.

Fourie du Preez watched the training session from the sideline, the cast on his right ankle confirming that he won't be back in the near future. Ruan Pienaar is expect to take ownership of the No 9 jersey in Du Preez's absence.

Another Bok legend in Victor Matfield was an observer rather than a participant. The big question is who will fill the void left by the injured Bok No 5 in Saturday's Test.

Lood de Jager appears to be the favourite to start at this stage, although Eben Etzebeth could also get some game time in what is an unfamiliar position. Bakkies Botha is set to return after missing the match against Scotland.

Apart from Matfield, Jannie du Plessis was the only other squad member who didn't take part in Monday's session. The Bok prop should, however, be available for the coming clash.

Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

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