Concussion concern over Pollard

Flyhalf Handré Pollard is in doubt for Saturday’s Test against Argentina in Durban as the result of a concussion.

Pollard started the last two Tests against the Wallabies and All Blacks, while he also wore the No 10 jersey against the World XV on 11 July.

However, should Pollard fail to recover in time it’s likely Pat Lambie will start at pivot, where he featured in the final three Tests of last year.

‘Handré got a concussion when he was pulled off [in the last Test against the All Blacks] after taking a knock to the head,' Bok team doctor Craig Roberts explained. 'He passed that assessment, and the one immediately after the game. But after two days we do another assessment and at that stage he started developing some symptoms of concussion. It’s what we call a delayed concussion. So there’s a set protocol he’ll have to get through before we can clear him to play. We’ll only know later in the week.’

Other players who have a chance of being fit for Saturday include Vincent Koch (rib cartilage), Warren Whiteley (rib cartilage), Trevor Nyakane (back strain) and Marcell Coetzee (leg injury).

Yet there could be comebacks for Pieter-Steph du Toit, Jean de Villiers, Fourie du Preez, Jan Serfontein, Steven Kitshoff and Willem Alberts.

‘Pieter-Steph played for the Sharks this past weekend and reports are that it went well,' Roberts commented. 'We’re happy with him and he did a full training session. Jean de Villiers stepped aside to get some game time [for Western Province] and I’m really happy with what he’s done there. Fourie is in a similar boat, he had a full training session and now the test will be how he responds to the load of training. Jan will also be ready, coming back from a hip and knee injury, Steven Kitshoff, who had the medial knee ligament sprain, also trained fully. Then finally, Willem Alberts is looking good, we’ve been building him over the last couple of weeks, and if he gets through training this week then he could potentially be available.’

As announced last week, Victor Matfield, JP Pietersen, Francois Louw and Jannie du Plessis will not be available to face Argentina.

‘Of the guys not considered, Victor is doing very well with his hamstring strain, JP also has a hamstring strain and is in a similar boat in that he may be ready for next weekend’s game [against Argentina] depending on how he progresses this week. Jannie has a medial knee ligament sprain and won’t be available this week, while Francois injured his shoulder in the game [against the All Blacks] and will miss both Argentinean games, but should be fit for the World Cup.

‘They join a group of players with chronic injury, Duane [Vermeulen] is progressing well with his neck, as is Coenie with his neck and Frans Steyn with his pec.’

Photo: Barry Aldworth/BackpagePix

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