Hands off Pollard, says Bok assistant coach Stick ahead of crucial Wallaby 2nd Test

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Springboks' Mzwandile Stick
Springboks' Mzwandile Stick
Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images
  • Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick said better discipline and not blaming Handre Pollard will help them improve for Saturday's second Test against Australia in Brisbane.
  • Pollard had an off day from the kicking tee and his misses were crucial to the Boks losing 28-26 last week.
  • Stick also backed Damian Willemse to come good despite the criticism he received for missing a conversion.

Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick said better discipline can and will lead to an improved performance against Australia in Brisbane on Saturday.

Handre Pollard's kicking from the tee was singled out as one of the reasons for the Boks' 28-26 loss in last week's Test in Gold Coast, but Stick said that Pollard was human and mistakes happen to everyone.

Pollard will be starting at Suncorp Stadium in a Test the Springboks need to win to stay alive in the Rugby Championship.

"Handre didn't have his best game when it came to the boot, but we didn't lose the game because of that. It was the discipline," Stick said.

"He's been brilliant for us since 2018 when he was right up there, but we're all human beings and sometimes, you're going to have an off day.

"It's up to us as the team, the coaching staff and the management to turn things around."

Pollard's wayward kicking subsequently put Damian Willemse under pressure and the young utility back missed a late conversion that would have given the Boks a better shot at winning the game.

Willemse's miss saw him come in for unfair criticism by former Springbok lock Victor Matfield, despite Willemse making a crucial tackle.

Stick came to Willemse's defence, saying the prodigy has the potential to get even better while also saying the six-two split on the bench works for them.

Willemse and former Paul Roos Gymnasium schoolmate Herschel Jantjies are the only backs on the bench for the Boks and they're not primary goalkickers even though they were at various stages of their development.

"We all know that Damian is a brilliant player and he's got a lot coming for him in the future," Stick said.

"He'll still get better as a player and we didn't lose the game because of the guys who were kicking for poles.

"We still believe in our six-two split on the bench and we know it worked for us before, so there's no need for us to doubt and panic."

Saturday's Test kicks off at 09:05 (SA time).



15 Tom Banks, 14 Andrew Kellaway, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Nic White, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Lachlan Swinton, 5 Matt Philip, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Folau Fainga'a, 1 James Slipper

Substitutes: 16 Feleti Kaitu'u, 17 Angus Bell, 18 Tom Robertson, 19 Darcy Swain, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Reece Hodge, 23 Jordan Petaia


15 Willie le Roux, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Franco Mostert, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Trevor Nyakane

Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Marco van Staden, 20 Kwagga Smith, 21 Jasper Wiese, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Damian Willemse

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