The double injury blow has seriously dented the national team’s chances of turning around their shocking 2016 form against France in June when they visit South African shores for a three-Test series.
Both men were expected to play a crucial role for Allister Coetzee’s team – at flyhalf and inside centre, respectively.
Janse van Rensburg’s knee injury – picked up while playing against the Stormers last Saturday – will see him go under the knife to repair damaged ligaments in his right knee, ruling him out for three months, while Pollard hurt his right ankle in training yesterday and he, too, will have to have surgery, which will keep him on the sidelines for up to 10 weeks.
Coetzee will feel he just can’t win after injuries also struck down Pat Lambie, Damian de Allende, Juan de Jongh, Ruan Combrinck, Howard Mnisi and Julian Redelinghuys last year.
The race is now on for the Bok No 10 and 12 jerseys, with young Curwin Bosch of the Sharks and Dan du Plessis of the Stormers the form men in those positions. Coetzee will no doubt be having sleepless nights regarding potentially more injuries to any more of his first choice men.