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First on EWN: Handrè Pollard in amputation scare after infection

The infection was so severe that the Bok flyhalf's doctors warned him that he may lose his arm.

FILE: Springbok and Bulls flyhalf Handrè Pollard. Picture: Rugby World Cup ‏@rugbyworldcup.

CAPE TOWN - Springbok and Bulls flyhalf Handrè Pollard has exclusively told EWN Sport that a serious infection in his shoulder following an operation earlier this year saw him just weeks away from possibly having his arm amputated.

The 22-year-old, capped 20 times for the Springboks, opted to have the shoulder operation for a long-standing problem while on the side lines for a knee injury sustained in training with the Bulls ahead of the 2016 Super Rugby campaign.

That operation saw him fall seriously ill after the grooves on the screws inserted into his shoulder became infected and saw him spend an additional five weeks in a Pretoria hospital receiving intravenous anti-biotics for up to seven hours a day.

The infection was so severe that Pollard's doctors warned him that he may lose his arm.

"There was a possibility [of amputation], they told me that early on, but luckily we identified it as early as possible, if we had let it go another month or so there was a big chance of that.

"Everything was sorted quite quickly, there was a possibility of that but fortunately I've still got all my limbs and can play some rugby."

Pollard, who is well-known for his relatively laid-back demeanour, says that it was a difficult time for him as it was the first major injury of his career and that the scale of his scare has seen him take stock on his whirlwind career.

"I've had a very blessed three years at the beginning of my career and I've played a lot of rugby at the top level and I've been very privileged with that.

"For me it's kind of a funny thing, it'll feel like I'll be making my debut again when I go back. My mind's refreshed and I'm hungry to prove myself again. I'm still young, I've got a few caps but that doesn't mean much these days, so I've got to come back and prove myself all over again and I'm pretty excited for that challenge."

With an initial prognosis of a playing return later this year, his return has been put back to around February but Pollard says that despite the lengthy lay-off the severity of his shoulder injury won't cause much further delay.

"I was lucky that I'm out for the rest of the year with my knee so whatever happened with the shoulder didn't delay anything too much, it's not nice, it put me back by a bit and it's going to make a recovery a couple of months longer but by the end of the day if everything goes well it should be all fine."

LISTEN: Bok flyhalf Handrè Pollard was weeks away from losing his arm