Montpellier have opted to rest flyhalf Handre Pollard while Springbok teammate Cobus Reinach is set to make his first appearance of the season for the Top 14 club against Bordeau-Begles on Saturday.
Pollard recovered from a long-term knee injury suffered while on duty for Montpellier in September last year and was declared fit just in time to face the touring British & Irish Lions in July. And the 27-year-old followed the three-Test series with five starts in the Rugby Championship which ended with a thrilling 31-29 victory against the All Blacks in Gold Coast.
Since joining Montpellier from the Bulls after the 2019 World Cup on a contract reported to make him one of the game’s highest-paid players, Pollard has made just 16 appearances. A handful of those came after he recovered from his knee injury in May this year, including an appearance off the bench in the team’s 2020-21 European Challenge Cup final win.
It has been reported that the club will not look to retain Pollard when his current contract expires next year, and resting the flyhalf after what has been a physically and mentally arduous return from injury may be an effort to manage Pollard in the hopes of saving him for important parts of the season.
The decision will be welcomed by Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber as he plans for a three-Test tour of the United Kingdom in November when the world champions will battle Wales (6 November), Scotland (13 November) and England (20 November).
Reinach is on the opposite end of the spectrum having been used very sparingly (four starts) by the Boks and he will relish the opportunity to clock up playing minutes against Bordeaux in partnership with Italy flyhalf Paolo Garbisi.