Pollard rejoins Springboks for tour

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    31 Aug 2017     Getty Images

They play Australia in Perth next weekend and the All Blacks in Albany a week later.

Pollard has played irregularly for the Springboks in recent seasons due to injuries and in that time Elton Jantjies has become the preferred choice at first five-eighths.

Coach Allister Coetzee hinted to South African media after his side returned from Argentina that Pollard may be used in the centres.

"Handre has made tremendous strides since he joined us in Stellenbosch and then for the two weeks in Port Elizabeth.

"He is now ready to play and we'll utilise him in a versatile role as he's also able to cover the centre position for us," he said.

That will put Pollard in competition with Damian de Allende for a place in the starting XV.

Coetzee made it clear that Jantjies was still his preferred option at first five-eighths.

"Elton's leadership should not be under-estimated. In five Tests this year he has been successful with 34 out of 38 kicks at goal and is continuously proving his ability to control games at Test level," he said.

Coetzee said he was happy with how the side was progressing after two rounds of the competition.

"We are looking at the Rugby Championship as a challenge divided into three separate phases. Phase one has just been completed, now we are looking ahead to the second phase, which is the Australasian leg, then obviously later in the competition we will have the home leg where we host New Zealand and Australia.

"We were very happy with the way things went in the matches against Argentina. When it comes to how well we went in Salta, I think it started with the change in our operational plan. The decision to go across to Argentina on our off day, thus giving us two full days to work on our game in South Africa at the start of the week, paid off," he said.

"We are up against a different beast in our next game. It is always tough against Australia because of the way they play, with high ball in play time.

"We have never looked at what has happened in Super Rugby as a measure of how the Wallabies will go. Apart from the ball in play when we go there, they have a clever set-piece, a good lineout, it will be a whole different challenge to what we have faced so far.

"They showed against the All Blacks how much they are improving as a team.

"They made a lot of mistakes in their first game against the All Blacks [in Sydney] and they were punished for that. But they learned from those mistakes and looked really good in this last game. We know we have a lot of work to do in preparation for this next game," he said.

The Springboks have been paying specific attention to the mental game, especially in relation to away games.

"We wanted the away result and we got that in Salta, now there is another challenge and another box to tick. We will stick to the processes we are busy with.

"One by one we have ticked off the little boxes in terms of what we needed to work on. Our scrumming has been good, our mauling has improved and our defence was again excellent in Salta. We feel comfortable with the progress we have made," he said.