Malcolm Marx’s untimely knee injury is undoubtedly a huge setback for the Springboks.
The 29-year-old hooker is excellent in his position, he is an iron at the breakdown points, his scrum work is excellent and he is, together with Eben Etzebeth, the player who stokes the fire in the Boks’ engine room.
With Bongi Mbonambi, Deon Fourie and even Marco van Staden already in France, the South Africans’ stomachs still seem very full.
Shortly after the Marx injury news broke, Bok coach Jacques Nienaber said that the team’s needs for the rest of the tournament will first be analysed, before the Bok management can make a decision about the additional player.
Joseph Dweba is the mainstay on South Africa’s player assistance list, but Nienaber and co do not necessarily have to replace one front row specialist with another.
This might just open the door for Handré Pollard to join the team in France.
The 29-year-old flyhalf was part of the Boks’ initial World Cup plans, but had not sufficiently recovered from his calf injury when the final squad was announced.
These days he is training full steam again with the Leicester Tigers and a ferry ticket across the English Channel is probably not too expensive if you book it in advance, right?
Several experts believe that Pollard’s absence is a loss for South Africa’s World Cup campaign. He scored 69 points at the previous tournament in Japan, while his learned kicking foot regularly kept the scoreboard going in the final against England.
“Handré would have played an important role in the play-offs and he would have learned so much from the 2019 World Cup,” said Dan Carter in the run-up to the rugby spectacle in France.
In addition, he fits well into the Boks’ game plans and he has World Cup winning experience that you can’t buy from a chain store – not even on Checkers’ Sixty60 app.
Yet Manie Libbok actually played a cracking shot against Scotland. Yes, he messed up with a set-piece or two, but the Humansdorp native’s flair, creative play and natural talent means that the Boks boast a razor-sharp attacking arrow in their quiver.
In a nutshell, it is nice to see the Boks play when the 26-year-old flyhalf pulls the strings.
Leave for Libbok in the no. 10 jersey, but get Pollard on the field for when an important set piece has to be taken in a playoff game.
Almost like what Morné Steyn did in the last and decisive test against the British and Irish Lions in Cape Town.
After all, he was ready for action when his team needed his sniper skills the most. A match winner will always answer an emergency call.