South Africa call up 2019 Rugby World Cup winning fly-half Pollard

Handre Pollard made the first of 68 Test appearances in 2014 (Wikus de Wet)
Handre Pollard made the first of 68 Test appearances in 2014 (Wikus de Wet)

South Africa Rugby said on Sunday fly-half Handre Pollard had been added to the holders' World Cup squad giving him a chance to repeat his heroics in the 2019 edition.

The 29-year-old replaces injured hooker Malcolm Marx with the inconsistent Manie Libbok the only recognised stand-off in the squad.

Pollard -- who scored 22 points in the Springboks 32-12 demolition of England in the 2019 final -- had originally been left out of this squad due to a calf issue.

Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber said he had chosen against bringing in another front-rower with back-rowers Deon Fourie and Marco van Staden offering cover in the No. 2 shirt as well as Bongi Mbonambi.

"We are confident with the cover we have at hooker with Bongi Mbonambi and Deon Fourie, and Marco van Staden has been slotting in the position since our alignment camps in February," Nienaber said in an SA Rugby statement.

"We opted to call up Handre, who has been in our system for years and who was a member of our team in 2019 when we won the World Cup," he added.

Pollard played for his English club Leicester Tigers on Friday providing Nienaber with the proof he was fit again.

Full-back Damian Willemse started at fly-half in Sunday's 76-0 thrashing of Romania but missed two from seven conversions.

Scrum-half Faf de Klerk replaced Willemse in the position on the hour mark in Bordeaux, and converted just two of his four attempts at goal.

"We'll work closely with him in the next week to get him (Pollard) back up to speed and back into the full swing of things," Nienaber said.

"We have no doubt he'll step up to the challenge.

"He's been here before so he knows the physical and mental demands of the World Cup," he added.