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Handré Pollard (born 11 March 1994) is a South African rugby union player for the South Africa national team and Montpellier in the French Top 14.[1] He normally plays at fly-half, but can also play as a centre. Pollard is currently ranked third on the list of all-time points scorers for South Africa in test rugby, behind only Morné Steyn and Percy Montgomery.

Handré Pollard
Handre Pollard 2015 RWC USA.jpg
Pollard kicking a conversion at the 2015 Rugby World Cup
Date of birth (1994-03-11) 11 March 1994 (age 25)
Place of birthSomerset West, South Africa
Height1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
Weight97 kg (214 lb; 15 st 4 lb)
SchoolPaarl Gimnasium
UniversityUniversity of Pretoria
Rugby union career
Position(s) Fly-half / Inside-Centre
Current team Montpellier
Youth Career
2007–2011 Western Province
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2013 UP Tuks 8 (52)
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
2013–2017 Blue Bulls 11 (88)
2014–2019 Bulls 60 (631)
2015–2016 NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes 8 (27)
2017 Blue Bulls XV 1 (6)
Correct as of 27 July 2019
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2012–2014 South Africa Under-20 14 (141)
2012 South Africa Schools 3 (37)
2014–present South Africa 48 (457)
2015 Springboks [a] 1 (7)
Correct as of 16 November 2019

Rugby careerEdit

YouthEdit

Pollard earned a provincial call-up as early as primary school level, when he was selected in the Western Province squad for the Under-13 Craven Week competition in 2007. He also represented them at the Under-16 Grant Khomo Week in 2010, before playing at the Under-18 Craven Week competitions in 2011 and 2012.

Professional careerEdit

Bulls / Blue Bulls / UPEdit

2013Edit

In July 2012, it was announced that Pollard would make the move to Gauteng to join Pretoria-based team the Blue Bulls at the start of the 2013 season.[3] His first involvement in rugby in Pretoria came for university side UP Tuks during the 2013 Varsity Cup competition.[4] He did not play in the first match of the season, but then made three substitute appearances in their next three matches before being selected in the run-on side for their last three matches in the round-robin stage, the semi-final and the final, starting all those matches as inside centre. He was the main kicker for the UP Tuks team and scored 68 points in his side's run to the final, making him the tournament's second-highest points scorer behind UJ's Kobus de Kock.[5] He was also a key player in the final of the competition as he kicked five conversions and a penalty to contribute 17 points in UP Tuks' 44–5 victory as they retained the trophy they won in 2012 Varsity Cup.[6]

During the 2013 Varsity Cup season, he was also included in the Blue Bulls side that participated in the 2013 Vodacom Cup competition. He made his provincial debut for the Blue Bulls on 9 March 2013 against Griquas in Kimberley. He came off the bench in the 62nd minute and scored two late conversions in their 40–32 victory.[7] His first start for the Blue Bulls came after the 2013 Varsity Cup, when he was named in the run-on side for their match against the Eastern Province Kings in the quarter final of the competition. He scored eleven points, but could not prevent his side slipping to a 31–34 defeat.[8]

In June 2013, after signing a contract extension to keep him at the Blue Bulls until 2017,[9] he was also named in their Currie Cup side for the 2013 Currie Cup Premier Division season. He made his Currie Cup debut on 31 August 2013, starting for the Blue Bulls in their match against the Sharks in Durban. Despite getting his first Currie Cup points after just six minutes – converting an Akona Ndungane try – the Blue Bulls suffered a 34–18 defeat in that match.[10] Pollard started a total of six matches in this competition, scoring 62 points to finish as the Blue Bulls' top points scorer in the competition and eighth overall[11] and also made four appearances for the Blue Bulls U21 side in the 2013 Under-21 Provincial Championship, scoring 52 points.

2014Edit

He was included in the Bulls squad for the 2014 Super Rugby season[12] and made his debut in the first round of the competition in a 31–16 defeat to the Sharks in Durban, also scoring his first Super Rugby points by kicking a late conversion.[13][14] Initially used mainly as a substitute, he made his first Super Rugby start during their Round 12 match against South African rivals the Cheetahs. Pollard had an eventful match, being sent to the sin-bin in the first half and contributing ten points with the boot as the Bulls ran out 26–21 winners.[15]

2015Edit

In 2015, Pollard extended his contract with the Blue Bulls until the end of the 2019 season.[16]

NTT Docomo Red HurricanesEdit

In June 2015, the Blue Bulls announced that Pollard would join Japanese Top League side NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes on a three-month deal between November 2015 and January 2016 for the 2015–16 Top League season, but would return to the Bulls prior to the 2016 Super Rugby season.[17] This was later confirmed by the Japanese side.[18]

MontpellierEdit

In May 2019, the Blue Bulls confirmed that Pollard would join Top 14 side Montpellier after the 2019 Rugby World Cup, having expressed his desire to continue his playing career in France during discussions about the renewal of his contract..[19]

International careerEdit

South Africa SchoolsEdit

Pollard was included in a South African Schools side in 2012, where he scored 37 points in three appearances against France,[20] Wales[21] and England.[22]

South Africa Under-20Edit

2012 Junior World ChampionshipEdit

He earned a call-up to the South African Under-20 team that won the 2012 IRB Junior World Championship on home soil. Despite not playing in their first match against Ireland,[23] he started their remaining four matches. He kicked five conversions in their match against Italy[24] and four conversions in their match against England to help secure a semi-final berth for South Africa. Three conversions and two penalties followed in their 35–3 semi-final victory over Argentina to see the Baby Boks through to their first ever final against four-time champions New Zealand. Once again, the boot of Pollard was largely responsible for their 22–16 victory in the final as he kicked four penalties and a drop-goal to lift the trophy for South Africa for the first time. Pollard finished as fourth top scorer overall in the competition with 42 points.[25]

2013 Junior World ChampionshipEdit

He was included in a training group that toured Argentina in preparation for the 2013 IRB Junior World Championship[26] before being included in the final squad for the 2013 IRB Junior World Championship in France.[27] Playing at inside centre, Pollard's kicking let him down in their 97–0 demolition of the United States in their opening match, scoring a penalty and one conversion out of six attempts before the kicking duties passed to Robert du Preez.[28] He did not kick at all in their match against England,[29] but a switch back to fly-half for their final match against hosts France saw Pollard contribute eleven points with the boot as they won the match 26–19[30] to top their pool and qualify for a semi-final against Wales. Wales scored an 18–17 victory over the defending champions in their semi-final match with Pollard scoring seven points.[31] He rounded off his tournament by kicking a penalty and four conversions in the third-placed play-off match against New Zealand to finish the tournament with 34 points.[32]

2014 Junior World ChampionshipEdit

He was included in a South Africa Under-20 squad for the third time for the 2014 IRB Junior World Championship,[33] and also named captain of the side.[34] As first-choice fly-half and kicker, this tournament proved to be Pollard's most prolific. He kicked seven conversions in their 61–5 victory over Scotland in their opening match.[35] Three penalties, two conversions and his first ever try in the Junior World Championships helped South Africa record a 33–24 victory over New Zealand in their second pool match[36] and he kicked three conversions as South Africa clinched their third consecutive semi-final place with a 21–8 victory over Samoa.[37]

They faced New Zealand again in the semi-final and Pollard helped South Africa secure their fourth consecutive victory over the Baby Blacks. He opened the scoring for South Africa with a 20th-minute try and also scored three conversions and two penalties in a 32–25 victory.[38] He scored a further ten points in the final as South Africa lost 20–21 to England to finish runners-up in the competition.[39]

Pollard was also briefly the leading points scorer in the history of the competition.[40] During the semi-final matches, both Pollard (with 131 points) and Argentina's Patricio Fernández broke the record previously held by England's Tom Homer.[41] However, the 26 points scored by Fernández in their 9th-place play-off match against Scotland[42] meant that he became the new record holder with a total of 155 points, with Pollard in second place with 141 points.[43]

His performances also earned him a nomination for the 2014 Young Player of the Year award, alongside Nathan Earle, Tevita Li and Garry Ringrose.[44] At the conclusion of the tournament, Pollard was announced as the winner of the award.[45]

Senior international rugbyEdit

At the conclusion of the 2014 IRB Junior World Championship, Pollard was called up to the senior Springbok squad for their final match of the 2014 incoming tours series against Scotland.[46] With Springbok fly-halves Patrick Lambie and Johan Goosen both injured and Morné Steyn withdrawn from the squad by French club side Stade Français,[47] Pollard was named as the starting fly-half for their match against Scotland.[48] He subsequently made his international debut on 28 June 2014 in Port Elizabeth, contributing thirteen points (five conversions and a penalty) to help South Africa convincingly win the match 55–6.[49]

A few weeks later, Pollard was included in a 30-man squad named by Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer for the 2014 Rugby Championship.[50] He was named as the fly-half for the run-on side in their opening match of the competition against Argentina at Loftus Versfeld; within two minutes of making his Rugby Championship debut, he scored his first points in this competition by converting Ruan Pienaar's early try. He also scored a penalty a few minutes later to help the Springboks to a 13–6 victory.[51] He was the starting fly-half in five of the Springboks' six matches during the competition – Morné Steyn starting their match against Australia in Perth – and was a key player in the Springboks' final match of the competition. In particular he scored two tries (his first at international level) and kicked a further nine points as the Springboks beat New Zealand 27–25 in Johannesburg,[52] to help end New Zealand's 22-match unbeaten run dating back almost two years and their first ever defeat in The Rugby Championship competition since its expansion in 2012. He scored a total of 43 points in the competition, in joint second place with Australian Bernard Foley on the point scoring list and nine points behind tournament top scorer, Argentina's Nicolás Sánchez.[53]

A knee ligament injury in February 2016 caused Pollard to miss most of 2016.[54][55]

Pollard was named in South Africa's squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.[56] South Africa went on to win the tournament for the third time, and Pollard was the tournament's leading points scorer. After missing a penalty attempt in the second minute of the final, Pollard thereafter converted six penalty kicks, missed an eighth attempt, but then converted two tries for a personal haul of 22 points.[57] During the final, Pollard sustained a fractured eye socket, and although he played out the game, his subsequent hospitalization forced him to miss the first four days of the team's trophy tour,[58] but was able to join for the final leg of the tour in Cape Town.[59]

Personal LifeEdit

Pollard is married to Marise (née Malherbe), a South African athlete who also hails from Paarl[60].

Springbok statisticsEdit

Test match recordEdit

Pollard's test match record is as follows:[61]

Against Pld W D L Tri Con Pen DG Pts % Won
  Argentina 8 6 0 2 2 12 15 0 79 75
  Australia 4 2 0 2 0 4 6 0 26 50
  Canada 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 100
  England 5 3 0 2 0 7 14 0 56 60
  France 2 2 0 0 0 3 7 0 27 100
  Ireland 2 0 0 2 0 1 1 0 5 0
  Italy 3 3 0 0 0 10 2 0 26 100
  Japan 3 2 0 1 0 4 5 0 23 66.67
  New Zealand 10 2 1 7 2 16 16 2 96 20
  Samoa 1 1 0 0 0 1 4 0 14 100
  Scotland 3 3 0 0 1 9 8 1 50 100
  United States 1 1 0 0 0 4 0 0 8 100
  Wales 5 2 0 3 1 3 11 1 47 50
Total 48 28 1 19 6 74 89 4 457 58.33

Pld = Games Played, W = Games Won, D = Games Drawn, L = Games Lost, Tri = Tries Scored, Con = Conversions, Pen = Penalties, DG = Drop Goals, Pts = Points Scored

International triesEdit

Try Opposing team Location Venue Competition Date Result
1   New Zealand Johannesburg, South Africa Ellis Park 2014 Rugby Championship 4 October 2014 Won 27–25
2   New Zealand Johannesburg, South Africa Ellis Park 2014 Rugby Championship 4 October 2014 Won 27–25
3   Wales Cardiff, Wales Millennium Stadium 2 December 2017 Lost 22–24
4   Scotland Edinburgh, Scotland Murrayfield 17 November 2018 Won 26–20
5   Argentina Salta, Argentina Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena 2019 Rugby Championship 10 August 2019 Won 13-46
6   Argentina Salta, Argentina Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena 2019 Rugby Championship 10 August 2019 Won 13-46

NotesEdit

  1. ^ In 2015, the South African national team played a non-test international against a World XV in Cape Town.[1][2]

External linksEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "SA Rugby Player Profile – Handré Pollard". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
  2. ^ South African Rugby Annual 2016. South African Rugby Union. 2016. pp. 124–125. ISBN 978-0-620-69290-8.
  3. ^ Nel, Brenden (2 July 2012). "Pollard signs with Bulls". SuperSport. SuperSport. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  4. ^ "SA Rugby Squad – Tuks : 2013 FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  5. ^ "SA Rugby Top Scorers – 2013 FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  6. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – FNB Maties 5-44 FNB UP-Tuks 1". South African Rugby Union. 8 April 2013. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  7. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – GWK Griquas 32-40 Vodacom Blue Bulls". South African Rugby Union. 9 March 2013. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  8. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – Vodacom Blue Bulls 31-34 Eastern Province Kings". South African Rugby Union. 4 May 2013. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  9. ^ "Young stars extend Bulls stay". Sport24. 20 June 2013. Retrieved 21 June 2013.
  10. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – The Sharks 34-18 Vodacom Blue Bulls". South African Rugby Union. 31 August 2013. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  11. ^ "SA Rugby Top Scorers – 2013 Absa Currie Cup Premier Division". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  12. ^ "Vodacom Bulls team". Bulls. Archived from the original on 9 February 2014. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  13. ^ "Match Centre: Sharks v Bulls". SANZAR. 15 February 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  14. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – Cell C Sharks 31-16 Vodacom Bulls". South African Rugby Union. 15 February 2014. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  15. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – Vodacom Bulls 26-21 Toyota Cheetahs". South African Rugby Union. 3 May 2014. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  16. ^ "Established Springboks to continue careers with Blue Bulls" (Press release). Bulls. 31 August 2015. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  17. ^ "Pollard in three month Japan move" (Press release). Bulls. 23 June 2015. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  18. ^ "2015年度 新加入選手(追加)のお知らせ" (Press release) (in Japanese). NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes. 1 July 2015. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  19. ^ Mphahlele, Mahlatse (14 May 2019). "Blue Bulls confirm Pollard's departure to French side Montpellier". TimesLIVE.
  20. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – South Africa 17-7 France". South African Rugby Union. 10 August 2012. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  21. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – South Africa 24-16 Wales". South African Rugby Union. 14 August 2012. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  22. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – South Africa 36-29 England". South African Rugby Union. 18 August 2012. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  23. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – South Africa 19-23 Ireland". South African Rugby Union. 4 June 2012. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  24. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – South Africa 52-3 Italy". South African Rugby Union. 8 June 2012. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  25. ^ "SA Rugby Top Scorers – 2012 IRB Junior World Championship". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  26. ^ "SA U20 training group named for Argentine tour". South African Rugby Union. 28 March 2013. Archived from the original on 6 June 2016. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  27. ^ "Steenkamp leads powerful SA U20 JWC squad". South African Rugby Union. 25 April 2013. Archived from the original on 6 June 2016. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  28. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – South Africa 97-0 USA". South African Rugby Union. 5 June 2013. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  29. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – South Africa 31-24 England". South African Rugby Union. 9 June 2013. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  30. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – France 19-26 South Africa". South African Rugby Union. 13 June 2013. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  31. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – South Africa 17-18 Wales". South African Rugby Union. 18 June 2013. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  32. ^ "SA Rugby Top Scorers – 2013 IRB Junior World Championship". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  33. ^ "Junior Springboks named for JWC 2014". South African Rugby Union. 22 April 2014. Archived from the original on 6 June 2016. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  34. ^ "Pollard to lead Junior Boks at 2014 JWC". South African Rugby Union. 13 May 2014. Archived from the original on 6 June 2016. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  35. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – South Africa 61-5 Scotland". South African Rugby Union. 2 June 2014. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  36. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – New Zealand 24-33 South Africa". South African Rugby Union. 6 June 2014. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  37. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – Samoa 8-21 South Africa". South African Rugby Union. 10 June 2014. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  38. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – South Africa 32-25 New Zealand". South African Rugby Union. 15 June 2014. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  39. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – England 21-20 South Africa". South African Rugby Union. 20 June 2014. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  40. ^ "Pollard se moeë Bokkies pak Engeland in o.20-eindstryd" (in Afrikaans). Beeld. 16 June 2014. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  41. ^ "IRB Junior World Championship : All Time Player Points Statistics". IRB. Archived from the original on 14 February 2014. Retrieved 18 June 2014.
  42. ^ "Match Details: Argentina v Scotland". IRB. 20 June 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  43. ^ "IRB Junior World Championship: All Time Player Points Statistics". IRB. Archived from the original on 14 February 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  44. ^ "Nominees named for Junior Player of the Year". IRB. 17 June 2014. Retrieved 18 June 2014.
  45. ^ "Pollard named IRB Junior Player of the Year". IRB. 20 June 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  46. ^ "Pollard and Strauss to join Boks in PE" (Press release). South African Rugby Union. 21 June 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
  47. ^ "Pollard and Strauss to join Springboks". SuperSport. 21 June 2014. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  48. ^ "Handre Pollard starts for Springboks against Scotland". ESPN Scrum. 26 June 2014. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  49. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – South Africa 55-6 Scotland". South African Rugby Union. 28 June 2014. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  50. ^ "De Villiers back to lead Boks in Rugby Champs". South Africa Rugby Union. 2 August 2014. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  51. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – South Africa 13-6 Argentina". South African Rugby Union. 16 August 2014. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  52. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – South Africa 27-25 New Zealand". South African Rugby Union. 4 October 2014. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  53. ^ "SA Rugby Top Scorers – 2014 The Castle Lager Rugby Championship". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  54. ^ http://www.skysports.com/rugby-union/news/15177/10161338/pollard-out-for-nine-months-after-freak-accident-in-training
  55. ^ http://www.sport24.co.za/Rugby/SuperRugby/pollard-in-amputation-fright-20160714
  56. ^ "South Africa World Cup squad: Siya Kolisi wins fitness battle, Eben Etzebeth backed, Aphiwe Dyantyi dropped". Independent. 26 August 2019. Retrieved 3 November 2019.
  57. ^ "England 12-32 South Africa: Springboks win World Cup for record-equalling third time". BBC. 2 November 2019. Retrieved 3 November 2019.
  58. ^ "Handre Pollard watches South Africa victory tour from hospital". BBC. 7 November 2019. Retrieved 16 November 2019.
  59. ^ "Pollard joins Boks in Cape Town after successful op". Sport24. 11 November 2019. Retrieved 16 November 2019.
  60. ^ "Step inside the home of Handré Pollard & fiancé Marise Malherbe". Incanda Furniture. 31 August 2017. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  61. ^ "Player analysis – Handré Pollard". ESPN Scrum. Retrieved 22 August 2019.