Blow for Boks as Pollard tears ACL

Springbok flyhalf Handre Pollard will miss the Rugby Championship after rupturing his knee ligaments while playing for Montpellier, the French club confirmed on Monday.

Pollard suffered the injury during Montpellier’s loss to Racing 92 on Friday and had to be stretchered from the field.

Reports in France say that Pollard was taken from the ground to hospital and the initial fears were that the World Cup winner suffered ligament damage, which would then require several months out of action.

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In a media release on Monday, Montpellier confirmed the worst as Pollard had torn his anterior cruciate ligaments and would therefore spend the next several months on the sidelines.

The news will come as a massive blow to the Springboks ahead of the scheduled Rugby Championship in November. The team will already be without lock RG Snyman, who also suffered a serious knee injury while playing for Munster.

Two other locks, Eben Etzebeth and Lood de Jager also have injury concerns after suffering rib and shoulder injuries, respectively.

If the Springboks are to take part in the Rugby Championship, Pollard’s injury means that Elton Jantjies would be the senior flyhalf in the squad. With 37 Test caps to his name, Jantjies is the next most experienced flyhalf available to the Springboks.

The 30-year-old Lions captain served as Pollard’s deputy during the 2019 World Cup, but is spoken of to have been integral in helping his teammates plan for the specific threats posed by the opposition flyhalves.

The injury could also open the door for Damian Willemse to get more game time at flyhalf at Test rugby level. Willemse has mostly been used at fullback for the Springboks, but has started consistently at flyhalf for the Stormers this year.

Other options available to the Springboks include Curwin Bosch, who has excelled for the Sharks this year after backed at flyhalf by franchise coach Sean Everitt, and Rob du Preez, who is currently the fourth-highest scorer in the Premiership this season but has recently blown hot and cold for the Sale Sharks and lost his place in the starting lineup to American international AJ MacGinty.

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