Springboks hero Handre Pollard ‘booed’ after returning to Leicester Tigers

Colin Newboult
Springboks fly-half Handre Pollard being tackled by Leicester team-mates Dan Cole and George Martin.

Springboks fly-half Handre Pollard being tackled by Leicester team-mates Dan Cole and George Martin .

South Africa fly-half Handre Pollard has revealed that he ‘got a few boos’ after he returned for club duty following the Rugby World Cup.

The 29-year-old played a key role in their triumph at the global tournament, kicking them to victory in both the semi-final and final.

This, after Pollard was called up to the squad midway through the World Cup following an injury to hooker Malcolm Marx.

The fly-half returned from injury in September and played 40 minutes of a Premiership Rugby Cup game for Leicester before he was called into the South Africa squad.

Downing England

Pollard came on for Manie Libbok in the first half of their World Cup semi-final against England and kicked the winning penalty late on to deny the Englishmen a place in the showpiece event.

Tigers stars Freddie Steward, George Martin, Dan Cole and Ollie Chessum all featured for the Red Rose in that clash.

According to the Telegraph, a highlights package was shown in honour of the returning players and, once it came to that key three-pointer, plenty of jeers jokingly broke out from Pollard’s team-mates.

“I got a few boos!” he told the Telegraph. “It was all in good spirit. It’s painful [for the England players] of course, I’ve been there, I’ve lost in a World Cup semi-final before, it stays with you the rest of your life.

“But these guys are all so young still and have got so much potential. Freddie and George and Ollie, they’re just going to learn from it, come out the other side so much better rugby players and people.

“It could be for the better in the future.”

Pollard has just returned following a week-long celebration in the wake of the Boks’ 12-11 triumph over the All Blacks in the World Cup final.

The fly-half described it as a ‘tough but enjoyable week’ as they toured around South Africa to share the special win with their supporters.

The celebrations

“The first two, three days were the most enjoyable because it was just us as a team, still at the hotel. From Monday we travelled for a couple of days,” Pollard said.

“It was just us together; once you land in South Africa it’s crazy, chaos, and you don’t really get the time together again.

“There wasn’t a lot of sleep at all. Some guys, I don’t know how they do it to be honest. I thought I was pretty decent at having a good time but I’m terrible at it looking at the standards they set.

“There were a few guys – Damian Willemse, Cheslin Kolbe – didn’t hold back. As soon as somebody gets tired, the next guy jumps in and gets it going again. It was unbelievable.

“The first day or two was at the hotel before we left, then that first flight was pretty good, A380 upstairs with a bar, had some fun, then eight-and-a-half hours in the lounge.

“That was a long eight-and-a-half hours. That was the start of day three, you can just imagine. I can’t give too much detail.”

READ MORE: Courtney Lawes and Handre Pollard among Premiership returnees while Luke Cowan-Dickie set for Sale Sharks bow