Fit Pol­lard ready to face Les Bleus

Business Day - - SPORTS DAY - Liam Del Carme Paris

Han­dré Pol­lard’s body may be as fa­mil­iar with a scalpel as it is with a fork, but he has not felt bet­ter for a long while.

“It is the best I’ve felt in the last two years. It’s funny but it’s true. I feel great. I don’t have any pain. I trained today [Tues­day] with­out any strap­ping. It was like a minivic­tory on its own.”

He ex­plained his or­thopaedic up­heaval of the past two years.

“It was shoul­der, knee, com­pli­ca­tions in the shoul­der be­cause of in­fec­tion, then my an­kle and more com­pli­ca­tions.”

Pol­lard’s restora­tion to full fit­ness has been duly noted and he is likely to start in the No 10 jer­sey when the Boks hope to get the spring back in their step against France on Satur­day.

El­ton Jan­tjies has not been his as­sertive self and the swag­ger has all but de­parted from his game since oc­cu­py­ing a deeper role in the Bok set-up.

When he plays flat as fly­half for the Lions he poses more threat to the de­fen­sive line.

Pol­lard can op­er­ate in ei­ther space and he also brings more kick­ing me­tres when they need to reach touch. He also is a stur­dier pres­ence in de­fence, de­spite the rep­u­ta­tional dam­age it suf­fered at the shoul­der of An­ton Lienert-Brown.

Pol­lard takes it to the line in a dif­fer­ent way but he in­sists it does not need much adap­ta­tion.

“Those dif­fer­ences are there but in the big­ger pic­ture, it is not a big deal. The okes will adapt. We have both been train­ing long enough with the team. It will be easy for the boys to adapt.”

He does not know whether he will start but in­sists he is ready for what­ever comes his way. “Calm­ness and com­po­sure are needed from me.”

In fact, the same char­ac­ter­is­tics will have to per­me­ate the en­tire Bok set-up if they are to bounce back from their per­for­mance against Ire­land.

In­vok­ing the same pas­sion and com­mit­ment that brought them within a whisker of beat­ing the All Blacks at New­lands in Oc­to­ber will be the key at the Stade de France.

“I sense in these con­di­tions you have to do it in a calmer way. More con­trolled, fo­cused and ac­cu­rately. The con­di­tions play a big role.

“That des­per­a­tion men­tal­ity, how the boys have been train­ing the last two days is the same feel­ing we had in Cape Town.

“We are go­ing to have to be more clin­i­cal out there. We need to do the ba­sics bet­ter and the mo­ments of magic will come.

“For some guys, it might be nice to be play­ing at home with peo­ple be­ing on their case but other guys might like it here. We have to fight for each other. There is no one here with a shoul­der to cry on. We’ve got each other.

“I like this,” he said about con­fronting the chal­lenge away from home. “I think it is the tough­est chal­lenge hav­ing to bounce back in the north­ern hemi­sphere af­ter what hap­pened last week.

“Heads were hang­ing on Sun­day, which is un­der­stand­able. It was very dis­ap­point­ing but that is the thing about a young squad. They don’t dwell on stuff like that for too long.”

Han­dré Pol­lard

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