In the 2019 World Cup final victory against England, both players started.Coach Jacques Nienaber of the Springboks commented, “This was one of the most difficult decisions we have ever had to make.”
Siya Kolisi, the team’s captain, has been included despite not having played since April because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
“Any of the 42-man training squad would do a great job, but injuries have played a part in the final selection and unfortunately time ran out for some real champions,” Nienaber continued.
Due to a chest issue, Lood de Jager is another noticeable absence; however, the Sale Sharks lock is included on a six-man standby list alongside Pollard and Am.
On September 10, South Africa will play Scotland to open title defense.
The 29-year-old Pollard suffered a calf injury when playing for Leicester in the Premiership semi-final against Sale and has not appeared for the Springboks since last August.
Manie Libbok, a fly-half with only seven caps but a standout in the Rugby Championship, is the lone specialist in the squad, but utility back Damian Willemse, 25, is also capable of playing there.
Am, 29, suffered a knee injury during the Springboks’ victory over Argentina last weekend and was subsequently ruled out of the team; in his place, Harlequins center Andre Esterhuizen was selected.De Jager, another member of the group that won the 2019 World Cup, had to leave the team late last weekend due to illness, therefore he will not be participating in that tournament in 2023.
Lock for Ireland Following his recent Springboks debut in the Rugby Championship, Jean Kleyn—who represented Ireland at the 2019 World Cup—was added to the roster.
Four scrum-halves have been selected by head coach Nienaber; they are Grant Williams, Jaden Hendrikse, Faf de Klerk, and Cobus Reinach. Also included in the final roster is 20-year-old winger Canan Moodie.
Before playing Ireland and Tonga, the Springboks’ second group match is against Romania on September 17.