WP flyhalf Handre Pollard will miss the rest of the U18 Craven Week after suffering a quad injury during the 47-27 loss to the Blue Bulls on Tuesday.
Pollard suffered the injury just before half-time of the day two feature match, but still finished the game. It affected his tackling ability and his goal kicking, which was evident when he miscued his first penalty attempt in the second stanza.
WP team manager Petri Stoffberg believes they should’ve substituted the player at the break.
‘In hindsight, we should’ve taken him off,’ Stoffberg told Schoolboy Derby. ‘But the rules of Craven Week forces each player to play a full game, and we can only substitute for serious medical reasons. We didn’t know his injury was that severe.
‘Leaving Handre on the field cost us on defence. He played very well in the first half, and was key in securing a lead at half-time. But he struggled in the second half, and we effectively defended with 14 men.’
The match against the Blue Bulls will be Pollard’s last for WP, having represented them at the U13, U16 and U18 provincial weeks. He will move to the Pretoria union once he finishes his matric year at Paarl Gym.
Excelsior flyhalf Dennis Cox is expected to take over WP’s flyhalf duties for their next game. Stoffberg added that there were also other options being considered, like Paul Roos fullback Jason Worrall.
WP will face SWD on Thursday, a team they lost to in a warm-up game shortly before the tournament. Stoffberg believes a stronger defensive effort will be needed for the win.
‘We need a simpler defensive structure plan in place. We just had a poor second half against the Bulls. We will improve in the next game.’
By Gareth Duncan, in Port Elizabeth