Lions tour 2021: ‘We’ll be ready for whatever comes our way’ – South Africa stand-off Handre Pollard issues warning

Handré Pollard has dismissed suggestions that South Africa will not be ready when the Lions come calling in the first Test on Saturday.

Handre Pollard has no concerns about his fitness despite a spell in isolation. Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images

The World Cup-winning stand-off was one of 14 Springboks to test positive for coronavirus, forcing him into self-isolation.

South Africa still don’t know whether skipper Siya Kolisi and winger Makazole Mapimpi will be passed fit to face the Lions but Pollard had a warning for anyone thinking the hosts will be off the pace in Cape Town.

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“There is no way we’re not going to be ready,” said Pollard. “Emotionally, physically, we're all fine. We’ve done our hard weeks of training and we will be ready.

South Africa captain Siya Kolisi was one of 14 Springboks to test positive for coronavirus. Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images

“The way we train is harder than the game so we’ll be ready for whatever comes our way on Saturday.”

South Africa’s training camps are notoriously gruelling and the Boks spent time at altitude in Bloemfontein where they played what were described as “three very tough conditioning games”.

The strong South Africa A side that defeated the Lions last Wednesday began the game at ferocious pace and although they tired in the second half it was a huge wake-up call for the tourists.

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Pollard, who was forced to sit out the A game, has no concerns about his own readiness.

“I didn't have any symptoms so I returned to physical training pretty quickly and that’s why I know I will be fine,” he said. “Some of the other guys, maybe not. But we’ll just have to see how it goes through the week. For me, personally, physically I’m 100 per cent.”

Kolisi, the World Cup-winning captain and flanker, and Mapimpi, face lung and heart tests to assess their fitness and, if cleared by a specialist, they will resume training on Tuesday.

“Anything can happen in terms of results. Some positive news would be good,” said assistant coach Mzwandile Stick.

“We trust the protocols in place and won’t do anything stupid. We’ve got great players in our squad so if Siya is not fit, we trust the other guys to play in that position.

“A guy like Rynhardt Elstadt, currently he is winning everything in front of him. Marco van Staden we saw against the Bulls on Saturday. Jasper Wiese…any of those guys can be selected and we’d trust them to do a job for us.”

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