Mbombela - Springbok flyhalf Handre Pollard will be the general holding his army’s strategies on Saturday against the All Blacks and he says that he won’t only be deploying the heavy artillery via the boot.
Pollard says he will be happy to send in the cavalry in the form of his dangerous back three but only when there is no chance of an ambush.
“Look, if opportunities open up to attack then that is what we will do,” Pollard said from the Bok base in Nelspruit. “But if they are not there then we have to be patient.”
Pollard said he will trust his instinct regarding just how much kicking and running the Boks will do.
“Rugby games can take on different directions, they evolve,” he said. “Usually after around 20 minutes you have a feel of how the game is going and you adapt a little, but however we play, it will be about doing what is required to win.”
Opposite Pollard will be either Beauden Barrett or Richie Mounga, depending on the stage of the game and which one has played off the bench, but Pollard is not expecting much variation, regardless of who is at pivot.
“I don’t think it will change much whether it is Barrett on the field or Mounga,” he said of his rivals. “The All Blacks are fairly rigid in their overall approach to the game but, yes, each of those two flyhalves has his particular X-factor.
“Beauden’s speed is incredible and he has a lot of valuable experience. Richie is ticking along, getting more caps and experience and he is a bit more of a threat with ball in hand with his footwork, but it is Test match rugby, not Super Rugby (where Mounga has excelled for the Crusaders), it is something different and we will try to contain them both. They have 15 threats on the field, though, so it is not just about those two.”
Pollard stressed that his kicking game (and that of Faf de Klerk) has to be pinpoint and that the Boks are wary of the aerial prowess of towering fullback Jordy Barrett.
“In these tight games the kicking game is going to be massive,” Pollard said. “To contain the All Blacks, you don’t want to give them broken field and/or time on the ball The way we kick, the type of our kicks, is very important, and it comes down to execution — everybody has a role to play and it is not just the actual kick.
“Jordy is great in the air and we will try and keep him out of the game as much as we can,” he added. “Jordy is a very tall guy but there are other areas we can go to on the field. Sometimes we will have no choice but to kick to him, and then we need to get there as quickly as possible and get the ball back.”