Pollard: Boks have high standards to maintain

Handre Pollard says the Springboks are determined to build on the standard set against Argentina in their Rugby Championship opener last weekend, as they fine-tune their preparations for the follow-up match on Saturday.

The World Cup champions kicked off the tournament with a 32-12 victory over Los Pumas in Nelson Mandela Bay last weekend to build on a successful B&I Lions series campaign, and Pollard says they are highly motivated to continue this form as they look to defend their Rugby Championship title.

However, the experienced flyhalf is under no illusions about the challenge that awaits them, saying they expect a physical and testing onslaught from the visitors.

“They are going to be very emotional, and they are going to come hard at us,” Pollard said.

“They are a proud nation with proud players, and they know they were not at their best last Saturday.

“The plan we had worked on the weekend, but there are things we can do better.

“That said, the guys that played [last week] did a great job, and for those of us coming in it will be about getting onto the same page as quickly as possible.

“A high standard has been set and it is now our responsibility to maintain that and do even better.”

Pollard was one of six players in the backline who did not feature in the match-day squad last week as Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber opted to rotate a handful of players following the physically demanding series against the Lions, and the pivot highlighted the positives of the decision.

“It’s not hard [to play one week and have the next one off],” he said.

“There is no rest in this team, our roles just change. We helped prepare the team that played last weekend, and they’ve been doing the same for us this week.

“The difference is that over the weekend one can relax and have a little break, which is also good.”

Pollard was not perturbed by the criticism levelled at the Springboks for their conservative style of play, saying: “It is what it is, and it’s the way we play. We want to win matches and that is working for us at the moment.”

The match kicks off at 5:05pm on Saturday at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium and all the action will be broadcast live on SuperSport.

Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

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Dylan Jack