Meyer shows faith in Pollard

2014-08-14 00:00

YOUNG Bulls flyhalf Handré Pollard will make his second start for the Springboks when they take on Argentina on Saturday.

The 20-year-old has been selected in the starting line-up ahead of go-to-man Morné Steyn, who will cover flyhalf and fullback off the bench. The call shows how much faith Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has in Pollard.

Pat Lambie returns to Durban for the Sharks’ Currie Cup game against the Pumas for some much-needed game time after a recent return from injury. He will rejoin the Boks next week.

The Boks will have a new-look midfield from the one that featured in the June Internationals.

Captain Jean de Villiers makes a welcome return and will guide debutante Damian de Allende, who starts at 13. De Allende becomes Springbok number 862.

“Jean and Damian have played together before, albeit not this way around. But Damian has experience of playing outside centre from his junior days and he got his break at inside centre when he had to step up in Jean’s place,” said Meyer.

The coach has also chosen to go with the tried and tested all-Sharks front row of Jannie and Bismarck du Plessis alongside Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira, together making a record 16th appearance as a front row for the Boks.

Lood de Jager replaces an injured Victor Matfield for his fourth Test cap. He has Bakkies Botha next to him, completing a formidable second row.

“Lood has improved a lot over the last couple of months and although it’s a big ask for him to fill the void left by Victor, I know he has the goods to deliver. He will be well supported by Duane Vermeulen in the line-outs though,” the coach said.

Sharks bruiser Willem Alberts will pack down at flank while Marcell Coetzee will be used as an impact player off the bench. That amounts to five Sharks players involved in the match-day 23.

Meyer is wary of the Pumas, who proved tough opposition the last time the sides met in a 22-17 win in Mendoza last year. The Boks had been trailing 13-17 at half time and were given a win thanks to the boot of Morné Steyn.

“We’re up against a formidable opponent on Saturday and we can’t take any chances or make experiments.

“The players know they have to be switched on mentally and physically, otherwise it could become a long afternoon at Loftus,” he said.

Argentina are set to announce their side this morning.

Springbok team (15-1): Willie le Roux, Cornal Hendricks, Damian de Allende, Jean de Villiers (c), Bryan Habana, Handré Pollard, Ruan Pienaar, Duane Vermeulen, Willem Alberts, Francois Louw, Lood de Jager, Bakkies Botha, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis (vc), Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira.

Replacements: Adriaan Strauss, Trevor Nyakane, Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Marcell Coetzee, Francois Hougaard, Morné Steyn, Jan Serfontein.

Rugby Championship fixtures, August 16:

Australia vs New Zealand. ANZ Stadium, Sydney. Kick-off: 12.05 pm

SA vs Argentina. Loftus Versveld, Pretoria Kick-off: 5 pm.

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