Handre Pollard kicked the pressure kick against Wales to take the Springboks into the 2019 World Cup final. He then scored 22 points in that final. He has always been a world-class Test match-winner, writes Mark Keohane
Pollard kicked six from eight on debut again Scotland and scored two tries in his first Test against the All Blacks at Ellis Park. He won a under 20 World Cup for the junior Springboks when still at school and in his final under 20 year, the same year he made his Test debut, he was the under 20 world player of the year.
Pollard was all BMT in the Springboks 2015 World Cup semi-final 20-18 defeat against the All Blacks at Twickenham in nailing five from five. He was even better in the 2019 World Cup play-offs and his match-winning penalty against Wales was the kick of a player who delivered on the biggest stage in his biggest moment.
Pollard should never have to convince anyone about his temperament or his class because he has done it in the biggest games the sport has to offer.
If there are doubts on Pollard, it relates to fitness or form, with the latter often aligned to the former.
Pollard after the 2015 World Cup suffered hugely with injury and also had a horror run with injury after the 2019 World Cup.
But his performance against the All Blacks in Nelspruit was as good as he has delivered in international rugby.
Pollard may lack the dazzle of Damian Willemse but he wants for nothing when it comes to his make-up of an international flyhalf, who is equally comfortable playing at No 12.
The Boks, with an awful record of just four wins in 29 Tests against the Wallabies in Australia, will triumph on Saturday in Adelaide if Pollard is on song.
I believe he will deliver a Bok win.
South Africa’s record in Australia against the Wallabies is an enigma. I wrote about it in my TimesLive column this week.
I can’t explain it, but when I look at the quality of the Boks match 23, especially the options in the pack, I simply can’t make a rugby argument strong enough to bet against them, especially given the Wallabies current woes.
A year ago I was brutal and bullish in my dismissiveness of the Wallabies. The back to back Bok defeats stunned and humbled me.
It is a more circumspect me that is giving the win to the Boks and it must be said that my feeling is one of hope more than conviction.
But if the Boks are to succeed, then Pollard will be at the forefront of the victory.
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) August 25, 2022
Watch: SA Rugby Mag editor Zelim Nel, the Moneyman and myself preview Saturday’s match