Rassie confirms Handre Pollard won't be fit in time for Rugby Championship

Rassie confirms Handre Pollard won't be fit in time for Rugby Championship

South Africa's director of rugby Rassie Erasmus admits that Handre Pollard's knee injury is "a bit of a worry" as the World Cup approaches.

On Tuesday, Erasmus ruled the Bok pivot out of the upcoming Rugby Championship, as initial hopes that he would be fit in time failed to come to fruition.

Pollard suffered a calf injury while playing for his English club Leicester late in the Premiership season and his recovery has taken longer than expected.

Like his captain Siya Kolisi, it is now hoped that Pollard will be fit in time to play one or two of the Boks' final warm-up matches before the World Cup starts in September.

"Handre is a bit of a worry," Erasmus told the media from the team's base in Pretoria.

"It's a tricky situation because it's a calf injury that he's re-injured. A re-injury always has us a bit more nervous."

Considering the situation with Pollard, Erasmus again underlined why they felt the need to bring in veteran Boy flyhalf Elton Jantjies, although there was good news on Damian Willemse, who Erasmus revealed was now fit along with Stormers teammate Manie Libbok.

"That's the reason we have Elton here," he said.

"We want Handre to recover fully because you don't want to push him too early. His timeframe is now like Siya's, we're hoping their both return either against Argentina in South America or the Wales and New Zealand warm-ups.

"When you only have two flyhalves in your group, you tend to put undue pressure on the guy who's injured.

"Elton's presence, especially, helps us at training, where he really adds value because we don't need to have a Faf [de Klerk] operating [at 10 during our training drills]."

There was also some good news on Sharks duo Eben Etzebeth and Jaden Hendrikse, who are both well on the way to recovery.

"Eben's been doing tests and he's been passing them well," Erasmus added.