Pollard emerges from flyhalf poser

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer says the need for continuity significantly influenced his backline selections for Saturday’s Test against Argentina, writes CRAIG LEWIS.

With Handré Pollard’s availability in doubt earlier this week as the result of a concussion, it was thought Pat Lambie or Morné Steyn might get a chance to start at flyhalf.

There was also a possibility Lambie might slot in at fullback, where he has featured off the bench in recent weeks.

However, when the team was named on Wednesday, Pollard retained his place at flyhalf, Willie le Roux remained at fullback, while Lambie was still selected on the bench.

At the team announcement, Meyer said there had been an array of selection considerations this week.

‘I must say it’s been one of the toughest weeks for me as Springbok coach because we’ve got 40 players and everyone wants to play … A guy like Morné was close to the side and he’s not available next week [for a friendly against Argentina], so that probably means he’s not going to get a chance. He wants to play himself into contention, he was brilliant in the French league [for Stade Français]. Then a guy like Elton [Jantjies] has done well in Super Rugby.'

Meyer admitted the pressure of needing to win what will be the Boks’ last Test match before the World Cup had also made continuity in selection a priority.

‘Pat hasn’t played a lot, and … Pollie [Pollard] is just starting to get back to form. He’s really doing well with Ruan [Pienaar], and Damian [de Allende] there, and also with the move of Jean [de Villiers to outside centre] and Jesse [Kriel to wing], you don’t want to start with a whole new backline.

‘In South Africa you have to win, that’s the most important thing. I probably wanted to give Pat a run at 15, but I thought we needed to have some sort of continuity in this game, he’ll probably come off the bench and play there.’

Having fully recovered from a neck injury that saw him miss a large part of the Vodacom Super Rugby season, earlier this week Lambie said he would be willing to play at flyhalf or fullback.

‘I am happy to play either position, and have done it before … At this stage I have hardly played in the last few months and any game time I can get is great for me.’

Photo: Barry Aldworth/BackpagePix

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Craig Lewis