Get the lowdown on the man who kicked South Africa to Rugby World Cup glory

Who is Handré Pollard: Ten things you should know about the South Africa fly-half

South Africa might be best known for their fearsome forward pack but they also need someone pulling the strings behind them.

Handré Pollard – a true all-round ten, who can kick, pass, run and tackle – did just that at the 2019 Rugby World Cup as he helped the Springboks lift the Webb Ellis trophy for a third time.

Ten things you should know about Handré Pollard

1. He was born on 11 March 1994 in Somerset West, a town in the Western Cape. The area is particularly known for its vineyards.

2. Rugby doesn’t necessarily lend itself to prodigies in the same manner as football – but Pollard breaks that mould, receiving a provincial call-up for the U13 age groups when he was still in primary school.

3. He attended the prestigious Paarl Gimnasium school, where fellow alumni include Schalk Burger and Jean de Villiers.

4. It’s not only at the senior World Cup where he has shone. Pollard played in three Junior World Championships; his side won the title in 2012 and he was awarded Young Player of the Year in 2014, when South Africa narrowly lost to an England team captained by Maro Itoje.

Handré Pollard

Handré Pollard scoring against the Baby Blacks in the 2014 Junior World Cup (Getty Images)

5. Pollard was so highly rated by then South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer that he made his Test debut straight after the 2014 Junior World Cup, scoring 13 points as the Boks thrashed Scotland 55-6.

6. There were fears Pollard would need to have his arm amputated in 2016 after routine shoulder surgery led to a serious infection, but that outcome was thankfully avoided.

Still, he had to spend six weeks in hospital and was out of action for almost an entire year.

7. Pollard scored 22 points in the 2019 Rugby World Cup final – second only to Matt Burke’s 25 points in the 1999 final. He did all this after fracturing his eye socket during the game and he then missed the trophy tour in South Africa after requiring surgery.

He was also the overall top point-scorer at the tournament with 69.

8. In May 2021, after recovering from the second serious knee injury of his career, Pollard helped Montpellier beat Leicester to win the European Challenge Cup.

Is Handré Pollard married?

9. His wife Marise is an international 800m runner, who has been South African national champion. The couple married in December 2017.

10. Most fly-halves are known for being noisy and communicative but, according to Marise, she was attracted to Pollard because he was such an introvert!

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