As the all-time greatest 10 Dan Carter ranked his top three first-fives in the world last week, many South Africans felt aggrieved that their own favourite 10 wasn’t mentioned by the former All Black.
Many South African fans rated Pollard the ‘form 10 in the world right now’ heading into the Rugby World Cup following the Springboks first ever Rugby Championship success.
Definitely got me even more excited for the world cup. Hopefully Handre Pollard will be the Perfect 10 this world cup and get his own redemption ?
— Wasim (@wasimebrahim) September 19, 2019
English press didn’t even include Pollard in the top 5 fly halves of the World Cup. Hopefully today he can show them how wrong they are. Easily the most important player in our side. Time for him to live up to his potential.
— Dean Oelschig (@DeanOelsch) September 21, 2019
Following a disastrous opening World Cup game by many Springboks, including Pollard who had six turnovers, the tide of opinion even amongst Bok supporters has swung.
Pollard was even labeled by some as ‘the All Blacks best player on the pitch’ as he missed a sitter of a penalty goal, committed way too many handling errors and on three occasions wasn’t in a position to receive the pass from his teammate forcing his side to scramble.
His performance was described as a ‘shocker’ that ‘single-handedly’ cost the game, ranked even below that of Jerome Garces by one fan. Garces was lambasted in a social media video by South African fans that compiled all his supposed refereeing mistakes.
Handre Pollard is having a shocker of a game! Not sure what the strategy is here outside of kicking possession away. #NZLvRSA
— Tando (@tandobikitsha) September 21, 2019
— K T (@AupaRamane) September 21, 2019
Handré Pollard is in the depths of a waking nightmare. That's at least his third bad handling error in the first 25 minutes. New Zealand are almost out of reach already.
— Jonathan O'Brien (@obrien_jonathan) September 21, 2019
Ranking of performances in that game:
1. Cheslin Kolbe
2. Beauden Barrett
3. Ardie Savea
5. The rest of the All Blacks
6. Jerome Garces
7. The rest of the Springboks
8. Handre Pollard
9. Willie le Roux.
— Alex Tarr (@alexthetarr) September 21, 2019
Handre pollard is the all blacks best player on the pitch.
— esethuj (@Agorian4lyf) September 21, 2019
— Ntate wa Kamo. (@marty_R200) September 21, 2019
Blame Handre Pollard. Man is a cost
— Joel Kazhila (@jmkazhila) September 21, 2019
Elton Jantjies would have managed this game far better than Handre Pollard has. He has been absolutely shambolic. EJ is not even on the bench.
— Chunky Amateur Afro (@owasendle) September 21, 2019
Where are our Springboks? The team playing now are terrible.. hope they do better second half? Faf de Klerk, willie le roux and Handre Pollard playing a bad game
— Christa (@christakapp1963) September 21, 2019
Poor Game plan, School boy mistakes, one dimensional, Mistakes mistakes mistakes and mistakes. We playing off 9 too much that, handrè Pollard does nothing other than kicking off tee#NZLvRSA
— Sira ?? (@Sindisilnyame) September 21, 2019
The Springboks struggled under the high ball as Aaron Smith’s box kicks rained down on Yokohama Stadium, creating unstructured play in the hot humid conditions.
The All Blacks two tries came off the back of two spilled box kicks, using the second possession to open up the South Africans. After the game, Pollard said it’s the small details the side has to get better at.
“It’s not panic stations, its very calm. We’ve still got the confidence in the group and coaching staff. It’s those small details we’ve got to be better at,” he said.
“They (New Zealand) are for me arguably the best team in the world, and if you don’t have everything set in place every single time that’s what they are going to do to you.”
The Springboks may get another chance to avenge the loss to the All Blacks, as will Pollard to redeem himself but for now perhaps the South African fans would be wise to listen to Dan Carter when it comes to ranking flyhalves.
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