South Africa international fly half Handre Pollard faces a lengthy spell on the treatment table after he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament on Friday 11 September while playing for his French Top 14 side Montpellier.
He has played just two games since the lockdown, as the 2019-20 Top 14 season was cancelled and the 2020-21 season has only recently begun.
Pollard who was a key part of the Sprinboks team who won the 2019 Rugby World Cup, was stretchered off the pitch during the 41-17 loss to Racing 92 and scans have now revealed the extent of the damage.
“Following the match last Friday evening between our Cistes and Racing 92 players at La Paris Défense Aréna, the club formalizes the absence for several months of Handré Pollard, victim of a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligaments,” Montpellier said in a statement.
“We wish him a quick recovery.”
It is the second time that Pollard has ruptured his ligaments, suffering a similar injury during a training session with the Vodacom Bulls in 2016. Then, he was forced to miss around nine months of action.
This means that the 6ft 2in Springbok, 96kg star is ruled out of the Rugby Championship scheduled to be played in Australia from Nov. 7-Dec. 12, and will significantly cut his preparation time for the British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa that starts in July 2021
Pollard has played 48 Tests for South Africa since making his international debut in 2014 and his control at fly-half is key to the Boks’ game-plan. However his injury will provide his deputy in the team, Elton Jantjies, a chance to stake a claim for the No. 10 jersey against the Lions.
Golden Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies, who was used at the World Cup as a secondary 10 option, has maintained a 76-78 percent goal kicking rate over the last few seasons, and ran the Lions’ attack into three Super Rugby finals.
With 37 Test caps to his name, Jantjies is the next most experienced flyhalf the Springboks have at their disposal. However, his on-field game time under the new coaching staff has been sporadic.
The world champions were already dealing with the loss of locks RG Snyman, Eben Etzebeth and Lood de Jager to injury.