Rassie: 'Libbok in goalkicking slump, Pollard will play'

The Springboks will return to field training at their Toulon training base on Tuesday after a day of recovery from a bruising defeat to Ireland.

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South Africa will next face Tonga in a must-win match, and in a statement released on Sunday night, director of rugby Rassie Erasmus confirmed Handre Pollard would receive game-time in that clash.

"Let's give Handre a chance to find his rhythm and see how he does with the other stuff. Tonga will be a great yardstick to see how he goes."

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Perspective for Pollard

Erasmus also called for matters to be kept in perspective, especially when it came to expectations for Pollard, and criticism for Libbok.

"Everyone must keep it in perspective," said Erasmus. "Handre Pollard is not superman and can't come back as fully ready after playing only 30 minutes of rugby since his injury.

"He can't just come onto the field to kick goals, he must also be able to sidestep, hand-off, make tackles, clean out at the ruck and that's obviously not the case now because he has only had a full week's training with us. That's why he wasn't up for selection for the squad in the first place, but he is definitely up for selection this week.”

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Meanwhile, Erasmus said he was happy with the play of Libbok, the Boks' first choice flyhalf and goalkicker in 2023.

"Manie is definitely playing brilliant flyhalf rugby at this stage but obviously his goalkicking isn't matching that," said Erasmus.

"If you weigh up the different things he does, he makes a great contribution to the team, but he is in a bit of a dip with his goalkicking – he knows it, we know it and the world knows it."

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