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Rugby World Cup: South Africa focused despite off-field uproar

By Nick Purewal

Handre Pollard has vowed South Africa will unite under the common cause of World Cup glory, despite political wrangling over their very presence at the tournament.

Fly-half Pollard pledged the Springboks will leave the politicking out of their campaign, which starts with Saturday's clash with Japan in Brighton.

The Agency for New Agenda (ANA) failed in a court case to ban the Springboks from attending the 2015 World Cup, claiming the squad fails to meet government policy on transformation.

The ANA say the Springboks' squad does not contain enough black players, but Pollard said Heyneke Meyer's men are unfazed by any turbulence in the build-up.

"The politics is for the politicians to sort out," said Pollard.

"We have one purpose and one goal and that is to win the Rugby World Cup. The politics doesn't affect us at all."

The 1995 and 2007 champions will be expected to control proceedings in Pool B, with Samoa, Scotland and the USA also thrown together alongside Japan.

Fast-rising star Pollard will spend three months in Japan with the NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes after the World Cup, before returning to Super Rugby franchise the Blue Bulls.

The 21-year-old will continue his fight for the Springboks' No.10 jersey with rival Pat Lambie across the World Cup - but insisted that battle only serves to improve both players.

"Competition is always a great thing," said Pollard.

"If you play for the Springboks you have got to know there is competition from the best players in the country.

"Pat's been doing very well. I have probably played more than him in the last couple of years, but every time he has come on he has done a great job.

"We spoke about the team coming first in our team building. You must never have a bad word to say, always keep working and encouraging.

"The great thing is that we have a great culture and a great sense of caring for each other."

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