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The Springboks have called up fly-half Handre Pollard to their Rugby World Cup squad as an injury replacement for hooker Malcolm Marx.

Marx was ruled out on Thursday with a knee injury. The Boks waited to confirm who would replace him, and have opted for Pollard, who missed the original squad through a calf injury.

Pollard played for Leicester Tigers against Sale Sharks on Saturday in the Premiership Rugby Cup and the Boks were watching on from their team base in France. Once the Springboks made it two from two with a commanding 76-0 win over Romania on Sunday, they announced Pollard was called up.

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The decision to call up Pollard means the Boks have just one recognised hooker in Bongi Mbonambi. But they have Deon Fourie – who usually plays in the back-row – available to cover hooker while flanker Marco van Staden can also play there.

“We are confident with the cover we have at hooker with Bongi Mbonambi and Deon Fourie, and Marco van Staden has been slotting in the position since our alignment camps in February, so we opted to call up Handre, who has been in our system for years and who was a member of our team in 2019 when we won the World Cup,” Boks coach Jacques Nienaber said.

“He’s been working hard to return to full fitness, and we are pleased that he now has some game time under his belt for his club, and this will allow him to slot back into the team.

“We’ll work closely with him in the next week to get him back up to speed and back into the full swing of things, and we have no doubt he’ll step up to the challenge. He’s been here before so he knows the physical and mental demands of the World Cup.”

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