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Bulls a different beast with Pollard

Tue, 01 Jul 2014 13:49
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Ability to bring the two centres into the game
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Handre Pollard is not your typical Bulls flyhalf and when he is in control, the Bulls become a different creature all together.
 
Pollard has enjoyed a meteoric rise to stardom culminating in a starting No.10 spot for the Springboks against Scotland on the weekend.
 
Now, as he returns to Pretoria to get ready for his first senior match in his home province at Newlands, against the Stormers, Pollard is already causing a lot of head-scratching in the Cape.
 
The Bulls have always been a powerful yet predictable side, especially when it comes to the flyhalf's role.
 
However, Stormers backline coach Robbie Fleck knows that if Pollard is chosen in the No.10 jersey for Saturday's match he will bring a spirited and enterprising edge to the role, not usually seen in Pretoria.
 
"Handre Pollard has done exceptionally well in the under-20 tournament, he is playing with a lot of confidence and made his way straight into the Springbok setup," the assistant coach told rugby365 ahead of the Stormers first game in four weeks.
 
"The Boks and the Bulls play in a similar way so he will be comfortable and have a lot of confidence coming back home, it is a big game."
 
Pollard was schooled in Paarl and was part of the Western Province Craven Week team in 2012, but soon after being named in that team, he announced that he was moving to Pretoria to join the Bulls.
 
"I think Pollard does definitly being a different dynamic to the Bulls," Fleck continued.
 
"He is not the traditional Bulls flyhalf who sits deep in the pocket and relies on his centres to do all the work.
 
"I think that Pollard is more of a threat, he definitely takes the ball a lot flatter, which allows both JJ [Engelbrecht] and [Jan] Serfontein to run onto the ball.
 
"Pollard has the ability to bring the two centres into the game a lot more, as well as his outside backs, he has a good strong pass.
 
"They are a different side when he is playing, but we won't make the same mistake again by giving both those kids so much space.
 
The Stormers felt the damage Pollard and Serfontein can do in Round 13, where they were totally out played by the Bulls 28-12.
 
"They are playing with a lot of confidence coming back from the Springboks," Fleck went on.
 
"We have got to concentrate on what we have to do, defensively we have to tighten up and make sure Serfontein and JJ don't get over the advantage line."
 
Returning to the Stormers' fold after an elbow injury, Gio Aplon is also aware of Pollard's threat but maintains that the Stormers cannot get held up over one player.
 
"Our focus is on the team as a whole, not necessarily one player.
 
"However, his presence does bring a different dimension to the game.
 
"We need to be aware of who they are as a team and what they have been doing over the years. 
 
"We do need to be prepared for what can come but we need to focus more on the ball than a certain player," the Stormers' wing concluded.
 
By Darryn Pollock
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