Handre Pollard’s profitable kick was ‘enjoyable’ – fly-half sends South Africa into World Cup closing

Handre Pollard
Handre Pollard had not performed for the Springboks since August 2022 earlier than the World Cup

Two excessive strain penalty kicks in two weeks from fly-half Handre Pollard – each from midway – have propelled the Springboks into Saturday's World Cup closing.

The primary knocked out hosts France in a titanic quarter-final earlier than an excellent later penalty within the 77th minute of the semi-final broke England's hearts.

It was a nail-biting watch for everybody within the Stade de France, however a second the 2019 World Cup winner merely described as “enjoyable”.

“I drew numerous confidence from final week's kick however that was all the time going to be the plan. Get a scrum and a penalty, that was the one method for us,” Pollard stated.

“It was a giant second however it's what you need as a participant on this stage, to have moments like that as a fly-half is what you reside for.”

The 29-year-old was a shock early arrival to the pitch – coming off the bench to interchange Manie Libbok after simply 31 minutes, with Libbok struggling in tough situations.

Pollard's ice-cool temperament proved essential of their 2019 World Cup triumph when he fired over a 76th-minute penalty to beat Wales within the semi-finals earlier than kicking 22 factors within the closing in opposition to England.

He missed out on choice for the unique 33-man squad for the 2023 World Cup after choosing up a calf harm enjoying for Leicester within the Premiership in Might.

However a knee harm to hooker Malcolm Marx through the pool stage gave South Africa the prospect to name up a substitute and after enjoying solely half-hour for the Tigers, Pollard was deemed ready to return by the world champions.

“It has been an fascinating 4 years for the reason that final World Cup, with numerous highs and lows,” stated Pollard.

“With Covid-19, accidents after I was in France [with Montpellier] after which an harm earlier than the Premiership semi-final with Leicester this yr.

“After which once more numerous ups and downs in the previous couple of months, not being chosen then coming again, however that is all previously.”

South Africa's daring semi-final substitutions continued early within the second half when highly effective second row Eben Etzebeth, captain Siya Kolisi and scrum-half Cobus Reinach all made method.

Prop Vincent Koch then joined the motion within the fifty fifth minute, that means all eight gamers on the bench had been used with over 1 / 4 of the sport remaining.

The Springboks use knowledge to assist support their decision-making, with a key concentrate on the variety of collisions and impacts made through the recreation.

“We get messages and we see each single message that will get despatched to us,” stated head coach Jacques Nienaber. “It's for them – the Springboks are extra essential than anything.

“The fantastic thing about this group is we're open and sincere, and since we have now the correct gamers, the gamers settle for it. Generally issues aren't going your method.”

England led the Springboks 15-6 heading into the closing levels earlier than the replacements made the distinction.

Lock RG Snyman's strive sparked the fightback, earlier than fellow replacements, props Ox Nche and Koch, helped acquire the scrum penalty that led to Pollard's match-winning second.

“We're grateful for the bench however truly for the entire squad. On this crew we remind one another that if we're profitable we are going to say that South Africa gained, not the 23 that performed,” captain Kolisi stated.

“The fellows who do not begin, they know after they come on there will likely be alternatives and all of us have totally different roles and we respect that.”

On Pollard's kick, he added: “I had little question in any respect. He has finished it for us earlier than.”

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