Pollard, Kriel relish playing Test rugby at Loftus home

JOHANNESBURG — Given Handré Pollard’s recent run of good form for the Springboks, Rassie Erasmus is unlikely to leave the Bulls flyhalf out of his squad for Saturday’s Test against New Zealand at Loftus Versfeld. In fact, Erasmus may have already told Pollard and Bulls teammate Jesse Kriel that they’re playing on Saturday, which is why they were able to chat to the media about their excitement at playing on their home turf. It’s not immediately clear why Pollard creates the impression that this will be his first Test at Loftus. His second game in the green and gold was at Loftus, in which he kicked five points in the Springboks’ rain-soaked victory over Argentina on 16 August 2014, before being substituted by Morné Steyn. However, it will be the first time that he and Kriel play in the same Springbok team at Loftus. Kriel has played Test rugby at Loftus twice – in victories against Australia (October 2016) and France (June 2017). Both players are unbeaten as Springboks at Loftus. Let that be a positive omen. – David O’Sullivan

From SA Rugby

Handré Pollard is looking forward to playing for the Springboks against the All Blacks in front of a capacity crowd at Loftus Versfeld, the No 10 said on Tuesday.

Pollard and his provincial and national team mate Jesse Kriel spoke to the media at their Pretoria hotel on Tuesday afternoon, and both marvelled at the prospect of playing in front of a capacity crowd on Saturday, in the final round of this year’s Castle Lager Rugby Championship.

Both players were part of the victorious Springbok side that scored a famous away win over the All Blacks in Wellington three weeks ago. Siya Kolisi and his team mates managed to also beat the Wallabies last weekend in Port Elizabeth, giving the Springboks some good momentum going into the much-anticipated Loftus clash.

Handré Pollard, Springboks
Handré Pollard is looking forward to playing for the Springboks against the All Blacks in front of a capacity crowd at Loftus Versfeld. Pic credit: SA Rugby

“There’s no doubt that they (All Blacks) will be coming hard at us,” said Pollard.

“They don’t like losing and they would want to rectify matters. We know it’s going to be hard and physical and we will have to match that.

“We have a bit of confidence and we are in a good space but we strive to consistently play at a high level. There’s no doubt that Saturday will be an enormous test for us.”

Tickets for the match have been sold out a few weeks in advance already, meaning that a special atmosphere will await the two teams on Saturday.

“We’ve often spoken about what it would be like to play a Test match for the Springboks in front of a packed, sold-out Loftus. Well on Saturday we will get that chance and we are all very excited,” said Pollard.

The Boks continued their preparations on Tuesday afternoon on the Loftus B-field. The players will have a break on Wednesday and resume their preparations on Thursday, when Rassie Erasmus will announce his match 23 for the big clash.

Source: http://www.sarugby.co.za/article.aspx?category=sarugby/springboks&id=4399024

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