Boks summon Pollard after blitzing Romania at World Cup


South Africa have called up five-eighth Handre Pollard to their World Cup squad as an injury replacement following their 76-0 thrashing of Romania.

Pollard, who helped kick South Africa to World Cup success four years ago, replaces hooker Malcolm Marx, who suffered a serious knee injury in training last week.

Pollard had a calf injury when the squad for France was announced on August 8, but South Africa's coaching team watched him in action for Leicester against Sale on Friday and ruled him fit enough to return - as a proven kicker instead of a replacement hooker.

The news came after South Africa halfback Cobus Reinach and wing Makazole Mapimpi each scored hat-tricks in their thrashing of Romania.

The Springboks had secured their bonus point within 12 minutes as they overwhelmed Romania with a fast start, before the heavens opened and the rain made for more challenging conditions on Sunday (Monday AEST).

As expected, they were dominant in all facets of the game and while Uruguay and Portugal have provided a stern test for tier-one nations at this World Cup, Romania are simply not at the same level, having also lost their opener 82-8 to Ireland.

The Boks meet Ireland next in their third pool B game in Paris on Saturday, which will be a huge step up in quality but also see a return of their first-choice players to the starting XV.

They ran in 12 tries in all with further scores for flyhalf Damian Willemse, hooker Deon Fourie, wing Grant Williams (two), fullback Willie le Roux and a penalty score in what became a box-ticking exercise after the first quarter of the game.

"I'm especially happy with a couple of things we tried," Bok coach Jacques Nienaber said. "The three different hookers that we used, I thought that paid off.

"Then Faf (de Klerk) got some exposure at flyhalf so I thought a lot of things that we wanted to get out of the game, we got."

Hordes of Springboks fans gathered outside the Stade de Bordeaux before the match in their green jerseys, several sporting nothing but shoes and swimming trunks with the South Africa flag on in homage to famous images of de Klerk after their 2019 World Cup win.

In contrast, there were only a scattering of Romania fans.

Beaten 21-8 in their previous World Cup meeting with the Boks in 1995, Romania were always going to be up against it but did not help themselves with a tentative start.

They were weak in the tackle and left too much space for their opponents to play as South Africa picked off their errors with four tries in the opening 12 minutes.

The Boks dominated the breakdown, winning 12 turnovers in the match, but the scoring slowed when a deluge of rain fell midway through the first half as they led 33-0 at the interval.

Fourie came on at the break for his first appearance at hooker since 2018 and acquitted himself well in the absence of the injured Marx, before flanker Marco van Staden was given a run in the front row as well.

First-choice halfback De Klerk came on at five-eighth after 55 minutes but his lack of accuracy off the kicking tee showed why Pollard was needed.