As part of the All Out Rugby BIG debate whether Handre Pollard, fresh from an ankle injury, should be in Perth for the Bok test against Aus on Saturday, Tank Lanning says NO!
The 23-year-old flyhalf, who has missed most of the past two seasons through injury, was recalled to South Africa’s 29-man squad for the Australasian leg of the Rugby Championship after recovering from surgery to repair a damaged ankle ligament.
If included in the matchday squad, Pollard will be firing passes in a Test match for the first time since the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Should he be there?
Tank Lanning – No
When Dan Carter was still plying his trade in New Zealand and making his way back from injury prior to the 2015 World Cup, he played at least three games for his beloved club, Southbridge.
He then got a game or two for his province, Canterbury, before being welcomed back into the All Blacks family by coach Steve Hansen.
This was the process for the man many would argue is the greatest player ever to grace the game. It’s all part of an excellent Kiwi culture that puts the game ahead of the player.
I know people get gatvol of the comparisons with the Kiwis, but my oath, do they get a few things right. Do our national players even belong to clubs anymore?
Unlikely given that their national contracts actually preclude them from playing in the Currie Cup! Can you actually believe that? So much for central contracting being for the good of the game…
Hence, Pollard being brought back into the national side without even having played a provincial game, let alone a club game. It’s a shocker.
Having raised it with medical staff, they say they are happy with the “return to play protocols” they have in place, and as per a recent statement from Allister Coetzee, believe the intensity at training to be even greater than that of a match.
It plays into a general South African psyche that tends to put players on pedestals. From contracting youngsters while still at school, sliding them through institutes and provincial age-group rugby instead of club rugby, and then almost robbing banks to keep them from taking overseas contracts.
No wonder they think they are bigger than the game!
Pollard should be playing for the Bulls this weekend after having turned out for his club over the last two weeks.
CLICK HERE to see Zelim Nel’s response