South Africa fly-half Handrè Pollard is set to make his return to rugby next month when the Bulls take on the Chiefs in a trial match at Ballymore.
The Springboks playmaker has been sidelined since last February after rupturing his knee ligaments in a freak accident at Bulls training, and will now return to rugby for the first time in over 12 months when the Bulls take on the Chiefs in Brisbane on February 8th.
Pollard was originally expected to miss nine months of play with the knee injury, however, a post-surgery complication on a separate shoulder injury nearly derailed his entire career last summer.
The 22-year-old decided to have his shoulder injury operated on while still being sidelined with his knee injury, however, the Bulls star had to spend an extra five weeks in a Pretoria hospital after his shoulder became badly infected post-op, with doctors informing him that he may have to consider amputation in order to stop the infection from spreading.
Luckily, doctors were able to identify the threat early on in the recovery process and Pollard was able to keep his arm, and also by consequence his career, but his long awaited return to rugby will be warmly welcomed by Springbok fans after the outhalf missed the worst South African rugby season in the post-apartheid era last year.
Also set to return for the Bulls will be utility back Jesse Kriel, who injured his lower leg in the opening match of the Springboks end-of-year tour against the Barbarians at Wembley in November.
Bulls coach Nollis Marais confirmed the players availability for next month’s pre-season trial with the two-time champion Chiefs and also said that he’s been impressed by what he’s seen from the duo so far in training.
“Handré [Pollard] and Jesse [Kriel, lower leg] are looking good,” Marais told rugby365.
“They are training already and they will feature in the warm-up game against the Chiefs [in Brisbane in February].”
Jack O’Toole, Pundit Arena