Rugby | Pollard closing in on Naas' Springbok mark

Cape Town – Springbok flyhalf Handre Pollard is fast closing in on the 300-Test point mark – and Naas Botha’s total points mark for South Africa.

Currently the 24-year-old Pollard has 299 points for his country, comprising of 3 tries, 55 conversions, 55 penalties and 3 drop goals.

Pollard will play his 37th Test for the Springboks against France at the Stade de France stadium in Paris on Saturday.

Kick-off is at 22:05 SA time.

While requiring a single point to bring him the 300-mark to become only the fifth South African to do so, Pollard requires 14 points to surpass Botha’s total of 312.

Botha, now 60, played in only 28 Tests, scoring 2 tries, 50 conversions, 50 penalties and 18 drop goals, before retiring after the 1992 Test defeat against England at Twickenham at 34 years of age.

Percy Montgomery tops the points scoring charts for the Springboks with 893 in his 102 Tests, followed by Morne Steyn with 736 in the 66 Tests the former Bulls pivot played for South Africa.

Bryan Habana finds himself in third spot in the standings with 335 points – courtesy of the 67 tries he scored in the Green & Gold jersey.

Former All Blacks great Dan Carter leads the way with 1 598 in the all-time Test points-scoring standings.

Players to watch:

For France: One player who will need little motivation for the home side is Louis Picamoles.
The behemoth number eight is a superb ball carrier and will be
determined to get his side over the advantage line with some
barnstorming runs. However, the 32-year-old’s game is not just about
brute force as he also has some subtleties in his armoury and his
ability to offload in the tackle makes him particularly dangerous.

For South Africa: After delivering one of his worst performances in a green and gold jersey, in last weekend’s loss to England, Springbok hooker Malcolm Marx
can consider himself fortunate to be in the starting line-up for this
encounter. At his best, Marx is one of the world’s best players and his
nomination for the World Rugby Player of the Year award is testament to
that. His ball carrying and prowess at the breakdown is excellent but in
that Test against England his lineout throw-ins were poor and one of
the main reasons for the Boks’ defeat. He will be determined to improve
in that department against France.

Head-to-head: The battle between the two flyhalves is always important and both France’s Camille Lopez and Handre Pollard
of the Springboks will be determined to prove their worth to their
respective sides, albeit for different reasons. Lopez is a man on a
mission. He makes his return to the Test arena after an 18-month break
due to a serious ankle injury and will be keen to repay the faith shown
in him by his coach. Meanwhile, Pollard will be keen to deliver an
improved performance after offering little on attack against England and
missed a vital penalty late on in that clash. Both pivots will be
expected to dictate the pace of the game and lead the way in the
playmaking department.

Previous results:

2018: South Africa won 18-17 in Paris
2017: South Africa won 35-12 in Johannesburg
2017: South Africa won 37-15 in Durban
2017: South Africa won 37-14 in Pretoria
2013: South Africa won 19-10 in Paris
2010: South Africa won 42-17 in Cape Town
2009: France won 20-13 in Toulouse
2006: France won 36-26 in Cape Town



Maxime Medard, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Geoffrey
Doumayrou, 11 Damian Penaud, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Baptiste Serin, 8 Louis
Picamoles, 7 Arthur Iturria, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4
Sebastien Vahaamahina, 3 Cedate Gomes Sa, 2 Guilhem Guirado (captain), 1
Jefferson Poirot 

Substitutes: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Dany Priso, 18
Rabah Slimani, 19 Paul Gabrillagues, 20 Mathieu Babillot, 21 Antoine
Dupont, 22 Anthony Belleau, 23 Gael Fickou

South Africa

Willie le Roux, 14 S’bu Nkosi, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11
Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7
Duane Vermeulen, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4
Pieter-Steph du Toit, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven

Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18
Vincent Koch, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Francois Louw, 21 Embrose Papier, 22
Elton Jantjies, 23 Cheslin Kolbe

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