Handre Pollard’s cameo in his return from injury has convinced the Springboks to jet him to France for the rest of the World Cup.
Pollard, 29, was originally omitted from the squad for the World Cup but has recovered from a calf issue, even playing for his English club Leicester Tigers on Friday.
An opportunity to recall the 2019 tournament’s top scorer has opened up after hooker Malcolm Marx was ruled out of the rest of the World Cup with a serious knee injury.
The Springboks have Manie Libbok as the only specialist flyhalf in the squad, while fullback Damian Willemse will wear the No 10 jersey against Romania.
Meanwhile, Bongi Mbonambi sits as the one specialist hooker among the 33, with utility forwards Deon Fourie and Marco van Staden offering further cover, while Joseph Dweba is on the standby list.
According to Sunday newspaper Rapport, the Springboks have opted to call Pollard into the squad ahead of Dweba, which will be made official after the World Cup match against Romania.
The Bok coaches are reportedly comfortable with their depth at hooker and feel that Dweba is too similar in his attributes to Mbonambi.
Mbonambi will captain the Springboks against Romania and Fourie is set to come off the bench. Fourie and Van Staden, who is on the team sheet as a replacement loose forward, could switch positions late in the second half to allow the Bulls player time to hone his ability in the middle of the scrum.
It’s unlikely that Pollard will play in next weekend’s crunch Pool B match against Ireland in Paris, as he still has to prove his match fitness, but he could play his first Test since August 2022 in the final pool match against Tonga on 1 October.
Photo:Patrick HAMILTON / AFP