Pollard to start for South Africa in World Cup against TongaWed, 27 Sep 2023 17:07:54 GMT

Fly-half Handre Pollard, back from injury and called up to the South Africa World Cup squad last week, will start for the Springboks in their final pool game against Tonga in Marseille on Sunday.It will be Pollard’s first Bok appearance since playing against Australia in Adelaide before injury forced him out of the subsequent 16 Tests.Four years ago, Pollard scored 25 points across the quarter-final against Japan and the semi-final against Wales before scoring 22 as South Africa beat England 32-12 in the final of the World Cup.The 29-year-old was initially ruled out of this tournament, but returned to competitive action a week ago with his club Leicester before being called up as a replacement for injured hooker Malcolm Marx.He did not feature in Saturday’s 13-8 defeat by Ireland but the failure of South Africa’s two goalkickers Manie Libbok and scrum-half Faf de Klerk in that match had increased the calls for Pollard’s return to the team.In spite of his exciting performances with ball in hand, concerns have been raised about Libbok’s goalkicking.He missed three penalties against Scotland in the first match and also failed with a conversion and a penalty against Ireland on Saturday.South Africa (15-1)Willie le Roux; Grant Williams, Canan Moodie, Andre Esterhuizen, Makazole Mapimpi; Handre Pollard, Cobus Reinach; Jasper Wiese, Duane Vermeulen, Siya Kolisi (capt); Marvin Orie, Eben Etzebeth; Vincent Koch, Deon Fourie, Ox NcheReplacements: Marco van Staden, Steven Kitshoff, Trevor Nyakane, Franco Mostert, Kwagga Smith, Jaden Hendrikse, Jesse Kriel, Manie Libbok Coach: Jacques Nienaber (RSA)