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Pollard savvy enough to rectify mistakes

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Springbok assistant coach Deon Davids says they are yet to make a call on who will start at flyhalf in their second Rugby Championship clash against Australia.

CAPE TOWN – Springbok assistant coach Deon Davids says they are yet to make a call on who will start at flyhalf in their second Rugby Championship clash against Australia in Brisbane on Saturday.

The Boks suffered a 26-28 defeat in Gold Coast at the weekend, and while they were far from their best overall, the performance of Handré Pollard – particularly his goal-kicking – was a major contributing factor to the result.

Pollard missed three of his seven kicks at goal and struggled with his overall game, which was in stark contrast to the fairytale outing Wallabies general Quade Cooper enjoyed.

Speaking during a media briefing on Tuesday, Davids explained: “That (goal-kicking and the No.10 role) is obviously an area we discussed. Handré Pollard is a professional rugby player and a quality guy on and off the field.

“He is the first player who will put his hand up and say he didn’t perform on the day. He takes pride in the way he does things. He has the experience to rectify his mistakes,” Davids said.

“We of course assess the performance of the players and the team as a whole – our discipline and goal-kicking were points we discussed.

“We look at a collective, at who is in the squad and what the challenges are going forward. So we will make a call on that.”

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Utility back Damian Willemse came on to replace Pollard with 14 minutes to go. In his stint on the field, he made a try-saving tackle before missing a conversion.

While he didn’t specify where they see him, Davids went on to say that the prodigious talent definitely has a role to play for the Boks in future.

“Damian Willemse is a talented player, and I think we have to look further than just this game. He meant a lot for us at the weekend, he saved a certain try. While we have short-term goals in terms of winning the Rugby Championship and the End of Year Tour, but we also have to think further and build experience. I think the experience that guys like Damian and Aphelele Fassi build now will come in handy if we make use of them at the next World Cup.”

The Bok team for the second Test against the Wallabies will be named on Wednesday.

@WynonaLouw

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